"But, how will they be able to write?" - that was the biggest question that came from the majority of teachers sitting around the table.
After that session, I was ready to embrace communicative language teaching and ditch my grammar books forever. The truth is, I never liked grammar that much anyway, and I saw the huge amount of class time I was having to devote to grammar instruction, drill, and tedious assessment. I fantasized about being able to spend that time building reading, listening, and speaking skills. I dreamed about being able to get back to teaching cultural lessons regularly without feeling guilty that I should be doing something more "academic", like another conjugation worksheet.
I am happy to say that after 3 months of teaching more communicatively and creating a proficiency-based classroom, my students can still write! I have not given one formal lesson on grammar. I have taught grammar as if it were vocabulary - exposing students first to my use of the language (comprehensible input) and then helping them produce the language themselves.
Here is what writing looks like with NO FORMAL GRAMMAR INSTRUCTION!
I am sure that many of you had many of the same concerns as my colleagues when you started reading this or when you heard of the idea of pulling back the reigns on grammar. Even I had no idea how this would really turn out. I thought I would share for those of you on the fence or ready to try something new. Your kids will still be able to write, and you will be free to spend all of that extra time on tasks that will get them closer to being able to actually use the language with confidence instead of with a conjugation chart!