Teaching Grammar Essay

682 Words3 Pages
Teaching Grammar Grammar is far-and-away the most difficult issue in the teaching of writing. On one hand, any number of studies have proven that lectures and exercises on grammatical rules and errors have no success whatsoever in eliminating error from student writing, and some have suggested that, in wasting time that might otherwise be used for instruction in rhetoric, such lectures and exercises actually weaken student writing. Moreover, in so far as such lectures and exercises can make students more self-conscious and undermine their faith in their own linguistic intuitions, they further weaken student writing. On the other hand, however, many and perhaps nearly all faculty not directly involved in the teaching of writing, as well as most professionals outside the academy expect teachers of writing, first and foremost, to teach students to write grammatically. Indeed, nothing else has even a fraction of grammar’s importance. Given its function as a kind of access-code to the professional classes, we do a great disservice to our students if we fail to teach it. The question, of course, is how? The key to teaching grammar successfully is to do it in a way that safeguards against fostering larger and larger disconnections between student writers, their texts, and their rhetorical contexts. In other words, lectures and exercises, as noted above, are simply no good. Instead, the best approach is to address issues of grammar wholly within the students’ own prose and to make the student as directly accountable as possible for learning it. A good example of this approach is offered by Kevin Murphy. Here is how he describes his method, a method, by the way that seems to succeed in helping students to learn what they need to learn about grammar: Marking the Essays: When grading student essays for grammar, I mark all applicable errors using a number and letter, which

More about Teaching Grammar Essay

Open Document