April 7, 2013

Writing and Grammar

Filed under: Uncategorized — mvervinck @ 6:20 pm
Tags: , , , ,

In the Sunday Detroit Free Press, I came across an article by Rochelle Riley titled “Grammar and cursive may be out, but the writing is on the wall.”  In March, I had written a post about cursive writing, and it was written in cursive.  At that time, I wondered how many people would be able to read what I had written.  Obviously, the 21 year-old mentioned in the article who couldn’t write his own name in cursive would not have been able to read my post.  That is sad, and he is not alone.

Many points that Riley made in the article are good and worth further discussion.  For instance, she mentions the fact that millions of college freshmen are not prepared to write academic papers once they begin college coursework.  They aren’t.  Colleges and universities provide help for many students who have not developed the writing and grammar skills that are expected of students at this level.  In the courses I teach, I have asked students in my classes to raise their hand if they were taught grammar rules and how to do such things as identify nouns and verbs in a sentence.  Typically, about 5 to 10 students will raise their hand in a class of 80.  That number needs to be a lot higher for our kids to be successful.  After all, writing is a basic skill that people must have if they want to move up in most career fields and for basic life skills such as writing a complaint letter.

Riley ends the article by stating that this is an area in dire need of research.  We need to find ways to effectively teach writing and grammar concepts to all students.  I admit the days of drill and practice identifying nouns and verbs is long gone because it probably was not the best way to teach those concepts in the first place.  However, just because a way of teaching was not very effective, it doesn’t mean that we should ignore the concept, too.  In today’s world where we are generating more words than ever between texting, tweeting, posting and more, we need to make sure that what we are generating can be read by people today and in the future.


1 Comment »

  1. It might be a case of “throwing the baby out with the bath water.” It is true we need to get rid of some “traditional” ways of teaching that really are not that effective, but they are such longstanding practice everyone is comfortable with them. But if we throw out the concepts that students need right along with outdated methods, we will have bigger problems.

    Comment by newtreemom — April 10, 2013 @ 8:38 pm | Reply

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