Grammatical Politics

In reading, Grammar and the Teaching of Writing I found it very interesting that many have formed the opinion that the formal and typical teaching of grammar is unpopular.  The tedious teaching and monotonous exercises in regard to grammar are reason enough to explain why it is unpopular amongst students, however it was very interesting to read that a decent amount of teachers believed that repeatedly teaching grammar was somewhat of a waste of time.  I never really thought that teachers or other authorities would deem grammar as a waste of time because it seems like such a vital aspect to our communication skills.  In the Preface of the essay Noguchi states that teaching grammar, “may have a deleterious effect on writing by taking away classroom time that might be better spent on more productive activities,” (vii).  This belief evokes an interesting question; is it possible that an activity such as a ‘free write’ can be valued more than a lesson on grammar?

Though this may be a stretch I find that this article can be related to politics.  Grammar is the Republican conservatives and free-writing exercises and other ‘productive activities’ serve as the liberal Democrats.  It comes to the point that we wonder if learning grammar is more hampering than it is helpful.  Like politics, it seems that an extreme to either side – an extreme liberal or an extreme conservative – seems rather narrow-minded and will ultimately lead to issues.  If there is too much teaching of grammar enforced, not only will teachers be allocating there precious time poorly, but the receiving end of the teachings, the students, will be most likely become bored and unwilling to relentlessly learn about the subject.  On the opposite end of the spectrum, if there were to be absolutely no grammar taught, and if it is not put to use, student’s writing skills would potentially fall to shambles. They would right like this/ and. Posibly no not how to compose, proper, sentence.   Okay so maybe that is an embellished attempt at writing without the knowledge of grammar – but the point is that too much conservation or too much freedom with grammar usage would not be beneficial.

The sentence that is ‘poorly’ written in the previous paragraph could potentially fall under the category of grammatical style.  I find “Grammar and

Style” to be an interesting segment of Noguchi’s writing.  I feel that obtaining a unique grammatical style is a sway towards the left side of grammatical politics.  It somewhat permits a sense of freedom for the writer within the boundaries of conventional grammar usages.  I believe that without a bit of left-wing leniency in grammatical teachings and structures, grammar will act as a hindrance to student’s creativity.  Conservative, right-wing grammar is not only a tedious subject to be taught, but it can also be extremely limiting, and in turn it can potentially dismiss creative risks and individuality in writing.

Ultimately, after reading Noguchi’s work, I feel that grammar is indeed a necessary evil to a certain extent.  Without teaching grammar, it is not guaranteed that students will just pick up on the rules of writing in the English language.  It is also not guaranteed that monotonously teaching grammar is an effective way for kids to retain grammatical rules – however, I believe that without some sort of system to unify writing, the action of writing itself would become a lot less powerful.

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One Response to Grammatical Politics

  1. Pingback: How do you approach grammar? « Polyglot Posturings

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