The PACE MODEL is a very effective way to use one of the ACTFL Core Practices, which is to teach grammar as a concept and to use the structures in context. Essentially this means that students should focus on the forms of the grammar structure after they focus on the meaning. The PACE Model (Donato and Adair-Hauck, 1992) encourages the language learner to reflect on the use of target language forms. The teacher and learners collaborate and co-construct a grammar explanation after focusing on the meaning in context. The PACE model provides a concrete way for teaching grammar as a concept.
Much like authentic language learning that happens outside of the classroom, this approach stresses that learning happens between people through social interaction (reminiscent of Vygotsky). The PACE model requires the learner to be an active participant in the language learning process.
The PACE model is a “four-step” process that includes elements that encourage student comprehension and participation. The four stages are:
1. PRESENTATION :
The teacher foreshadows the grammar structure with an appropriate text, with emphasis on meaning. Typically, the teacher recycles the storyline through pictures, TPR activities, etc., to increase comprehension and student
participation. The focus is not on the grammar structure at this point, but it is used by the teacher and in the text.
2. ATTENTION :
The teacher now has students focus on the language form or structure through the use of images, powerpoint slides or highlighting a particular linguistic form.
3. CO-CONSTRUCTION :
After the teacher has focused student attention on a particular target-language form, together they co-construct the grammatical explanation. The teacher provides scaffolding and assists the learners with questions that encourage them to reflect, predict and form generalizations regarding the consistencies of the language. Students construct their own grammar rules, guided by the teacher who will make sure that they end up with an appropriate explanation.
4. EXTENSION :
The learners use the grammatical structures to complete a task relating to the
theme of the lesson, which helps the language remain communicative while also highlighting a particular structure.
Take a look at this activity that works well for the extension step.
Reference: Donato, R. & B. Adair-Hauk. “A Whole Language Approach to Focus on Form.” Paper presented at the American Council for the Teaching of Foreign Languages. San Antonio,Texas (1992).