I grew up in an era of "grammar translation" language learning, studied three languages in high school and started my professional career teaching French and Latin. So grammar and vocabulary are second nature to me and still seem to me to be an inescapable part of language teaching and learning. However, over the years I have acquired many new techniques and perspectives, which have shaped my teaching into something quite, but not completely, different from my own student experiences: I have learned ways of teaching sentence structure without bothering very low level students with the extra vocab and conceptual burden of the metalanguage; I have also learned new ways of looking at English sentence structure to help with the specific and different problems confronting and confusing non-English speakers.
One person, whose take on English grammar I have found particularly enlightening, is Marion Wittaker from QUT. Marion always has a slightly different slant, which refocuses my mind in a most helpful way. My "Bible" on grammar is Allsop, Jake: Cassell's Students' English Grammar, Cassell 1989, ISBN 0 304 305324, which is the best and most comprehensive grammar book for ESL/EFL teachers (and very advanced students) I have ever come across. However, it is unfortunately out of print now, although some teachers have told me they have managed to find copies on the internet.
Thanks to Marion & Jake!
In the vocabulary area I am greatly indebted to Paul Nation, Professor in Applied Linguistics at the School of Linguistics and Applied Language Studies (LALS) at Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand, for a paper he gave at the 1995 QATESOL annual conference at St Lucia in Brisbane. His work on vocabulary development for ESL and EFL learners has inspired much of my thinking and teaching of vocabulary ever since the moment of inspiration he triggered for me at that conference.
Thank you Paul and thank you QATESOL!