As I was reading Rei R. Noguchi’s Grammar and the Teaching of Writing, I was thinking about one of my students who had a lot of trouble with grammar. His ideas would be very interesting and original and his papers would be organized as well, but grammar was keeping him away from doing well in his Expository Writing class. When I asked him if he would consider learning grammar, he said, “How does anyone learn grammar? Lectures on grammar do not help me in any way because there is too much information to take in. It feels like it is another language. The teachers only tell us the rules but do not help us to apply those rules in our writing.” This ties in with Noguchi’s article, in which he mentions the three main causes of the failure of grammar instructions. He states that grammar is too difficult to learn, it is neglected and therefore not transferred to writing situations and if learned it is not applicable to writing situations. For my student, grammar was too difficult to learn and was not transferable to writing situations. He wanted to improve his writing but no matter how much he tried, grammar did not help him improve his writing because he was taught “formal grammar”. For example, he was only familiar with definitions regarding nouns, verbs, etc. He had a hard time applying that into his writing. Noguchi also discusses that if teachers set priorities to the grammar categories and teach only the important topics, it will not only help them organize their lessons, which will then have less material, but qill also help the students get more out of the lesson.
This article articulates that if taught minimally, grammar would benefit students by improving their writing based on a better understanding of grammar. Teachers should take into consideration what students like and what they don’t like about grammar. This will help them develop their lesson in a way that will include more of what is attractive to students and less of what is not, which in turn will help students absorb more about the basic rules of grammar. This is something I always take into consideration when I tutor. I try to turn the negative thoughts the students have about writing and try to make them look into the positives so they feel better about their writing and become motivated to improve. I feel that grammar, although it may not be treated as important as other aspects of writing, is important to develop one’s writing skills. Simply learning the basics of grammar can help one become more efficient in applying it to their writing, which in turn will make them a better writer in the long run. With Noguchi’s suggestions about the manner in which grammar is taught, one can benefit greatly from incorporating grammar into their writing.