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Improving Student Perception Of Grammar Essay

2290 words - 9 pages

Its time to come clean, face the facts and admit the truth - students are scared of grammar. From the days of crayons and nap time straight through high school they always hope and pray that a random fire drill, a.k.a. a gift from God, will disrupt the dreaded grammar lessons and exercises. As the semesters continue to pass by students become elated as grammar turns into nothing more than a minute beep on the radar screen that is the weekly lesson plan. However, nearly every student walks into English class dealing with the fear that he will be called on to explain even the simplest rules of possession or number. So why do most students fear and loathe the perplexities of grammar? Perhaps this trepidation has something to do with the fact that most teachers treat grammar like the ‘redheaded step son’ of the English curriculum; hiding its study somewhere between spelling exercises and vocabulary worksheets. While most teachers avoid discussing grammar, or discuss it incorrectly, they still threaten students with low marks if such mistakes rear their ugly little heads in class assignments. The way we, as scholars, view the discussion, acquisition and knowledge of grammar must be modified to suit the realities of the modern classroom and world. Grammar should be seen through the lens of the entire writing process to make the students use of grammar seem completely natural and easy.

Although every coin has two sides, the research arguing against the formal teaching of grammar in the classroom appears stronger than that which supports the old regime’s strict approach to grammar. However, logic dictates that this argument will not be settled merely by choosing sides. Perhaps some middle ground can be found between the militantly formal study of grammar and a complete disregard for its study. Grammar cannot and must not be ignored, if only for its importance in everyday communication, as well as in professional areas of business, law, academics, science and medicine. Ideally, certain ideologies and exercises will be developed, not to teach grammar, but to allow grammar to teach itself. The following discussion will highlight the controversy and complexity surrounding grammar, while attempting to modify the normative notion of grammar in the classroom. It stands that grammar cannot be taught in solitude, but within the hierarchy of the writing process. Finally, I hope to develop some fresh pedagogical alternatives to the typical, boring and unsuccessful grammar activities in an attempt to bring together those opposed to and in support of the formal teaching of grammar.

The debate over grammar continues to passionately rage on, providing students, teachers and writers the necessary forum to work towards some universally sound ideology. Patrick Hartwell discusses the depth of this grammar war during Grammar, Grammars, and the Teaching of Grammar. “But the grammar issue, as we will see, is a complicated one. And, perhaps surprisingly it remains...

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