The Dangerous Blog for Grad Students

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“Grammar, Grammars, and the Teaching of Grammar” Precis October 21, 2008

Filed under: Precis — deduvick @ 11:52 am
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Patrick Hartwell

Should or shouldn’t grammar be taught in the classroom?  That really is the question here.  According to some scholars like Janice Neuleib and Martha Kolln, grammar is instrumental to teaching composition.  However, others would disagree.  Taking a look at the term grammar, we see that there are at least 5 different meanings.  The first, Grammar 1, is the grammar that we were born with and instinctively know.  We may not be able to articulate the rules, but we know what “sounds right.”  Grammar 2 is a linguistic science, and is always changing.  The third grammar is really just usage, as in having “good grammar” or “bad grammar.” Grammar 4 is made up of the rules of grammar, the things that grade-school teachers educate their pupils on.  And, lastly, Grammar 5 pertains to styles, whether you want to write something modern, romantic, Greek, etc.

There have been numerous studies that account for grammar not helping students learn to be better compositionists.  Grammar should no longer be central to our teaching and should really be passed over altogether, in favor of teaching students how to organize papers and paragraphs as papers and paragraphs, not as grammar.  


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