Teaching English Frustration

Discussion in 'General Education' started by Love to Teach, Oct 11, 2010.

  1. Love to Teach

    Love to Teach Cohort

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    Oct 11, 2010

    Each year, I am becoming increasingly frustrated trying to teach English to my students. I know that they have been taught these concepts and skills at every grade level, but still in 5th grade they do not seem to know their parts of speech or how to pick out the simple subject or simple predicate. And even after weeks of instruction, I am not getting through to most of them, either. It is so frustrating for them AND for me! :)

    I also know that they will study these same concepts through 8th and probably 9th grade. We will work hard on them all year, and when they get to 6th grade next year, their new teacher will be wondering if we ever worked on them at all! :)

    Does anyone else feel this same frustration and confusion as to why it is so hard to get these concepts across to our students? What are we doing wrong in our approach? Is there anything out there that works better?

    I seem to remember reading somewhere where there was an approach where only one part of speech was taught each year...say nouns in 2nd grade, verbs in 3rd grade, etc. Has anyone done it this way or heard of any school systems that have? Was it a successful method? :)
     
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  3. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Oct 11, 2010

    I feel the same way. I know that they learn the skills, but seem to come to the next grade expecting a review. I think it is partly to blame on our system. We always review each year so why bother remembering...
     
  4. Ms.H

    Ms.H Companion

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    Oct 11, 2010

    Grammar, parts of speech, punctuation-- I'm surprised I don't literally see them coming out one ear as they go in the other! Sophomores still struggle with where an apostrophe goes, even though they've probably studied it for no less than eight years, and eighth graders look at me like I have three heads when I bring up prediacte nominatives.

    A few years of this leads me to believe that there must be a better way. Kids just have no reason to remember; it has no meaning or significance to them. They don't even seem to have a folder for it in their mental filing cabinet. Though my college advocated teaching grammar in the context of writing, my school had a stand-alone grammar curriculum. I've heard time and time again that isolated grammar instruction is not useful and should be integrated into writing intsruction. This sounds great, but I'm not entirely sure how to go about it. (I also don't want my former students showing up on "Are you Smarter than a Fifth Grader"...or in college...with no clue what an adjective is.)

    In short, yes, I relate, and thus, I'm looking for a way to change.
     
  5. Sshintaku

    Sshintaku Comrade

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    Oct 11, 2010

    I'm teaching 11th grade this year, and they still can't remember some parts of speech. When I was in high school, I was actually failing English because of grammar. I just didn't get it. It wasn't until I was in college and took a grammar class that I really understood.
     
  6. beccmo

    beccmo Comrade

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    Oct 11, 2010

    We were just talking about this in the lunchroom today. The one thing that annoys everyone is when students use "should of" instead of "should have".

    I don't even teach English, but still want students to write in complete sentences and paragraphs. Students in Chemistry today were shocked when I told them I would take off points for misspelled names of elements on their quiz. After all "This isn't English class, so spelling shouldn't count." Excuse me, but these are vocabulary terms and important to the class. Learn how to spell Fluorine and Phosphorus.
     
  7. Bella2010

    Bella2010 Habitué

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    Oct 11, 2010

    I'm right there with you on this! My 6th graders have no idea what a noun is. Well, they know it's a "person, place, or thing," but they are at a loss when it comes to finding it in a sentence. :eek:

    I don't know which is more important to me this year: parts of speech or using texting abbreviations. One of our other hang-ups, regardless of how much I preach to them about it, is starting a sentence with "because." :rolleyes:

    Beth
     
  8. Mrs. K.

    Mrs. K. Enthusiast

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    Oct 11, 2010

    My co-teacher and I are in the same boat with our low-performing ninth graders. When we ask them to identify the parts of speech in a sentence, they just toss out words at random. Friday, out of desperation, we assigned a color of paper to nouns, verbs, and adjectives, passed them out, and had kids write one word on the paper. My co-teacher was "The" and I was "was." We got the kids standing up with us to make sentences, and in a few cases we saw lightbulbs going on. Over the weekend I put one sheet of each of the colors in a page protector, and today we gave them dry erase markers and had them work on forming simple sentences.
     
  9. bandnerdtx

    bandnerdtx Aficionado

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    Oct 11, 2010

    My juniors couldn't tell you what a preposition or an adverb is if you paid them. They can get the nouns and verbs (in simple sentences, and maybe even in compound sentences ONLY), but that's it.

    They are still unclear about apostrophe rules, comma rules, quotation mark rules, etc. I think that's because we all try to teach everything every year. There's no way we can make sure that there's some consistency, and it's so frustrating. :/
     
  10. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Oct 12, 2010

    One or two lessons per year with one or two worksheets on the topic does not teaching make. Grammar has been watered down to something that is quickly covered instead of something that is woven into the entire year from 1st grade on. Diagramming went out the window years ago.

    When grammar is taught in a unit, retention doesn't happen. When grammar is taught haphazzardly by trying to correct sentences and trying to address several different errors every day, retention doesn't happen.

    Grammar needs to be part of many lessons over the year and reviewed constantly in younger years slowly adding new concepts so that it becomes automatic. That type of teaching is long gone in the younger grades. The focus is on trying to edit without really knowing the structure of language. The focus is on trying to build creative thoughts without working on the structure of language.
     
  11. INteacher

    INteacher Aficionado

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    Oct 12, 2010

    My high schoolers look like deer in headlights when I require them to submit thesis statements to be approved before they write their essays - "Thesis statment, what's a thesis statment?" I KNOW they have been taught what a thesis statment is and how to write one!!
     
  12. Chalk

    Chalk Companion

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    Oct 12, 2010

    Is it possible that the rules of the English language need to be modernized? How many of you stop and actually order your sentences consciously according to the rules, or is it instinctive for you?

    I write like I talk, therefore in my mind I am right in how I say things because my mind thinks in this language and it becomes instinctive, which in turn leads to verbalization or writing.

    Does this make sense? To teach them you have to alter the natural instinctive tendency to think in the language and make that thinking conform to the rules.

    ( If you really want to teach them, burn your Simon and Schuster 800 page nearly useless book and teach then from William Sturnk and E.B. White. "The elements of style" 85 pages of simple rules that are pure gold)
     

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