Why We Don’t Teach Grammar

First of all, grammar is much like Kleenex®. This brand name has been connected with several other similar products. When I ask my spouse to “Please pass a Kleenex®, I would probably get irritated if she responded, “Is a generic tissue acceptable?” After all, I just want to blow my nose.

So, let’s agree on what we mean by teaching Grammarly Student Discount. This includes the part of a sentence, the function of these parts (such as the parts of speech), the arrangement of words with the sentence, word choice, punctuation, and capitalization, and assorted oddities that we think students should know, but wish they learned elsewhere.

1. ELA teachers live in the day-to-day fear that one of our colleagues might ask us how we incorporate teaching past perfect participles in our persuasive essays. Teachers naturally tend to avoid teaching things that they do not understand. Few were trained in teaching grammar.

2. There is not enough time. Teachers have their comprehensive lists of standards and courses of study on their “to-do” lists. There are pressures from administrators, the omnipresent district or state testing, and our own colleagues to check off items on these lists. Of course, we have our favorite novels and projects. Grammar instruction does not even make our Letterman’s Top Ten. “If I had infinite time… then, maybe. But to be honest… Socratic Seminars, readers theater, and that Steinbeck novel would probably shove their way into my lesson plans first.”

3. The “research” says not to teach grammar. We trot out a “sound bites” from a study or two as convenient excuses to avoid teaching grammar. We gloss over the real language of the research conclusions, i.e., “teaching grammar in isolation outside the context of composing is ineffective.” Some teachers do parrot these research conclusions accurately, but few actively address the variables of the research and actually teach grammar in the meaningful context of writing.

4. The fact that students are grammatically-challenged is someone else’s fault. “Students should know this stuff by now. The grade-level standards emphasize review of grammar, not debut of grammar. I am only able to teach what I am supposed to educate. I can not be responsible for other educators’ shortcomings. I have my grade-level standards to teach. If I spent all my efforts on what they already should know, students would never learn anything new. Hopefully, they’ll pick it up later, somehow.”

5. Students do not like grammar and they do not recall what they’re taught. “Grammar is boring. I want to be a fun and interesting teacher. I’m angling for Teacher-of-the-Year and I’m not about to let grammar get in the way. Besides, the pay-offs from teaching grammar seem minimal, anyway. The students have learned the parts of speech every year and they couldn’t define or identify an adverb, if their lives depended on it. An adverbial clause? You’ve got to be kidding. I won’t drill and kill my students.”

6. We do not understand what we do not understand. Teachers teach from personal experience, as far as from professional development. Most teachers in their twenties, thirties, and forties had little grammatical instruction in their college years and several university professors have coached these teachers in grammar for the reasons already discussed. The pervasive “whole language” philosophy of the 1970s, 1980s, and early 1990s de-emphasized grammatical instruction and relegated into the editing step inside the composing process. “I didn’t learn grammar, and I turned out alright” is an often-thought, if not spoken, rationale for ditching grammar education.

My reply? We will need to teach grammar and make time to get grammatical instruction and practice. Anything pupils will need to know needs to be “taught, not caught.” Pupils are whom we instruct, not ever-changing standards, courses of study, fads, personal preferences, or personal agendas. Therefore, if students do not understand how to define, identify, and use adverbs, we will need to instruct them (an intentionally ambiguous pronoun reference that indicates both subjects-students and adverbs). We do not require any more pupil casualties as a result of any ” Great Grammar Debate.” Our ignorance is no excuse. We will need to understand how to teach grammar in a purposeful writing context.

Why not create sense of grammar instruction with a program that can help you effectively integrate punctuation into writing instruction? Throw away your ineffective D.O.L. openers and last-minute test-prep practice, and teach all the grammar, mechanics, and spelling that many students need in 75 minutes per week. Teaching Grammar and Mechanics provides a coherent range and arrangement of 64 no-prep lessons with Teacher Tips and Hints for the grammatically-challenged. The mechanics and punctuation skills match those found from the 72 TGM Worksheets and target the diagnostic needs signaled by the multiple-choice evaluations.

 

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