The Systematic Teaching of Grammar: A Critique

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The Systematic Teaching of Grammar: A Critique

From the writer: "The Systematic Teaching of Grammar: A Critique" is a piece that was written for my Peer Writing Consultant class, WRT 331. The assignment was rather open, we were to relate our experiences as a writing consultant to an area interest. I was inspired to choose grammar as my subject area because I found that many students came to me asking directly for help with their grammar. This piece was more of an exploratory piece than anything else.

From the teacher: Cat's interest in the subject of this paper was sparked by her consulting clients repeated requests to have her "just go over the grammar" in their papers. She wondered what they meant by that. Why were they so concerned about grammar? As a result, she decided to investigate how students are instructed in grammar. This paper, her final presentation for the Peer Writing Consultant course, grew out of her research.

From the editors: Through a series of questions and answers, Ayoob simply yet thoroughly examines the subject of grammar. Taking a trip back to early childhood education and the origins of many misunderstandings of the mere definition of grammar, Ayoob's style offers concrete understandings of the life span of grammar. Writing from a point of view of a writing consultant lends her paper further credibilty.

Grammar this, grammar that. So much is heard about grammar, most of it negative. If you are a writing consultant, you will hear that word just about everyday:

"Can you help me with my grammar?"

" I hate grammar."

"My grammar sucks."

Where does this obsession and loathing of grammar come from? This question would probably take a whole dissertation to answer, and I do not have the knowledge to write that sort of paper. So, this essay will be more narrowly focused. In most cases this misunderstanding of grammar takes place early on in ones educational career. Most students have made their position with grammar clear before they enter high school. Many of these students who detest grammar were taught grammar systematically. It is this systematic teaching of grammar that creates such fear and hatred of grammar. In this short piece, systematically taught grammar will be analyzed and discussed. It is the intention of the author to provide a critique of this method of teaching and propose alternative teaching styles. Grammar taught systematically is ineffective and should be discarded.

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