Says Who?

To a certain extent it can be agreed that all aspects of grammar should be questioned for the simple fact that language is an ever-changing entity. The way we speak and write today is significantly different from that of even just ten years ago. Lingo, language, and rules always seem to be changing. With the exception of a general base in the rules of grammar, what we learn in one class may be different from what we learn in another.  English teachers highlight the key areas they wish to go over while omitting other aspects that another may find more important. All of these factors leave students at the crossroads of whether to follow or question the rules they are being taught. In the academic life of a student grades play a vital role in the decisions students make.

Most students (even I am guilty of doing so) will conform to their professor wants in order to receive a high grade because that is what we know and are taught to do. At such a young age we are told how important grades are. If you don’t get A’s in all your classes you won’t go to a good school, you won’t have a well paying career, or you will just end up on the streets or working at Burger King. The pressure to conform to our teachers style of teaching is so heavy that most students will not even dare to question it because of the threat of receiving a low grade. As a pre-business student there is so much pressure for me to keep my grades high because if I don’t I will not be accepted into the business school, and if I don’t maintain those high grades I risk being kicked out. With that pressure my focus typically isn’t on questioning the rules of the professor, my focus is doing what I need to do to get that A.

Like most students writing is not the only aspect of my academic career, so my focus is not heavily put on how well my grammar and writing are. At the end of her article Anne Curzan states, “We should encourage our students and ourselves to ask at every language turn, Says who?” For this statement to play off as well as Curzan hopes for it would require for all students to have a high interest in language and writing. To question something you do not believe in or disagree with means you have to, to some extent have a level of interest in the subject, but in reality not all students show a strong liking English. Not to say that I do not like English, but I have a stronger interest in business and math, therefore I would apply more of my focus and time towards one of these fields rather than the content of my writing. Although writing plays a role in the world of business, unless I am the CEO of a company, I will more than likely adjust my writing style to those who I am writing to without question. If my boss asks me to write an article for him I am not going to debate the format he wants it in, or justify my grammar because that would mean risking my job. Once again like the role of grades my writing style would conform to those who are in higher positions of power than I am. For language and writing I would much rather leave its questioning and ethics to those who show a strong interest in the field like Anne Curzan.

I am not trying to say that the rules of grammar, language, and writing should not be questioned and tested because I do believe they should. The English language is not perfect, nor will it ever be, but to ask every student to challenge its authority is an almost unrealistic impossibility if an emphasis on grades remains the focal point of a student’s academic life. In addition, not every student has a major interest in the rules and understanding of the English language, therefore not all of them will even want to question its rules. Those who show that interest in the field of English will instinctively want to expand their knowledge of it and eventually question it, but not every student will choose that path.

-Albert Alarcon


About albert0a13

Ultimate Frisbee!!!
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One Response to Says Who?

  1. It’s hard to get students to do something they think their teacher wouldn’t like, even though it is probably what the teacher wanted all along!


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