Grammar and the Teaching of Writing

The author of Grammar and the Teaching of Writing spends a good deal of time discussing how grammar is a very abstract concept. People are taught grammatical rules, but never really understand why they are learning them and how they are helpful.  I agree with the author in that many people do not understand grammatical rules, but I have never thought of grammar as an abstract idea.  In fact, I think grammar is a pretty solid concept. There are grammatical rules. These rules are defined in a fairly straightforward way that, if taught correctly, should be relatively easy to follow. I agree with the author in his belief that a big problem lies in the way grammar is taught to students. The author says, “formal grammar instruction, as commonly conceived and practiced, has failed to increase significant writing improvement” (15).  We spend so much time in grade school learning the different grammatical rules, but still most students don’t understand them or put them to use in their papers.  This means we have to change the way students are taught about grammar.  Instead of drilling the rules of grammar into students heads, we should teach them so they understand on a basic level not only how to use grammatical rules but WHY we use these rules.  I believe that if students are taught the basics of why these rules are in place it is a lot more helpful to them than just having random rules thrown at them. Students need to learn about grammar on a deeper level to truly understand it.

As someone who is a lot better at English than math, I’ve always found grammar to be relatively easy (especially compared to Algebra or Calculus).  So, I’ll be honest, I really judge people when they have poor grammar. In a professional setting, there is no excuse for blatant grammatical errors. It makes the writer look sloppy and uneducated. I think this alone is an incredibly important use for grammar in the real world.  One of the most frustrating things I encounter in my tutoring sessions is grammatical errors that I can’t address.  Major grammatical errors are one of my biggest pet peeves.  Coming across them in papers and having to ignore them kills me.  I definitely understand why we don’t just correct all the students errors, but it is a challenge for me to leave their grammatical issues alone.  For this reason, I am a huge advocate for our grammar Fridays because I think they really improve the quality of our students’ writing.  This reading was interesting because it took a real look at the problems with how students are taught grammar and what we can do to improve the overall performance of student’s writing, which is obviously a major goal of ours.  I think by teaching grammatical rules on a basic level from an early age, we can vastly improve students’ understanding of grammar.

Please don’t judge me for any grammatical errors I may have made in this response! :]

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