How important is grammar instruction in helping students write better?

Discussion in 'Secondary Education' started by DevonT989, Aug 8, 2022.

  1. DevonT989

    DevonT989 New Member

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    Aug 8, 2022

    Hello everyone, I am an ELA teacher currently completing my graduate program. As a part of the program, we must share our thoughts on the course material with the public online-I found this questions and resources very thoughprovoking an helpful in reflecting on my beliefs and practices about writing instruction.

    I believe grammar instruction provides limited benefit to student writing improvement. When students receive their assignments back covered in pen marks pointing our errors in grammar it can be overwhelming and distracting from their focus on the content of their writing. It also detracts from our ability to provide students with autonomy over their writing as it takes up valuable classroom time than can be used on developing ideas, workshopping with peers, and providing guidance in authentic writing experiences. Conley notes that students are motivated by “autonomy, purpose, and mastery.” (2014) By focusing on grammar instruction, we limit these things in our students’ writing. Students learn when they are motivated, grammar instruction takes time away from things that can improve student motivation.

    Furthermore, McCarthey and Mkhize found that teachers in low-income districts are more likely to spend time focused on grammar instruction while students in high income districts are more likely to have the opportunity to spend time working on developing their unique writing, focus on their ideas, and have more control over their writing. (2013) This puts students who may already be at risk at a further disadvantage. The income of level of a students’ district should not have any influence on the kind of writing opportunities they have access to.

    References

    Conley, A. K. (2014). Nurturing intrinsic motivation and growth mindset in writing. Online.

    McCarthey, S. J. & Mkhize, D. (2013). Teachers’ orientations towards writing. Journal of

    Writing Research, 5(1), 1-33.
     
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  3. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Virtuoso

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    Aug 8, 2022

    I taught in a high-poverty area, and we did not do isolated grammar instruction. It was all handled through writing instruction.
     
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  4. Paris23

    Paris23 Rookie

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    Aug 8, 2022

    Every individual student has different needs.
     
  5. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Aug 8, 2022

    I teach at an alternative school with about 95% of students listed as economically disadvantaged, and I hope that current urban teachers are adjusting their approach to grammar pedagogy.

    Most of the grammar instruction I give is in conjunction with teaching students how to recognize their own syntax issues and edit them appropriately. Getting students to read for fun seems to be a huge help. If a student is enjoying a Jason Reynolds book and subliminally notice he's using there, their, and they're correctly, it might work into the conscience practice.

    How do you see this going over in your classroom?
     
  6. CaliforniaRPCV

    CaliforniaRPCV Comrade

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    Aug 9, 2022

    I get the feeling that OP has an agenda, not really asking a question as much as voicing an opinion. And I'm find with that because I tend to agree with what he is saying. I don't think grammar does you much good with your first language. The best way to learn proper English, for example, is exposure to proper English. Read good books written in at least near the current version of English. (Avoid Shakespeare, US Constitution, etc. unless you give fair warning). Grammar is more useful if you are teaching a new language, like Spanish, Japanese, or whatever that is in the US Constitution.
     
  7. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    Aug 10, 2022

    The OP is just posting "blog" type posts to get credit for a class.
     
  8. CaliforniaRPCV

    CaliforniaRPCV Comrade

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    Aug 10, 2022

    Huh. It does look like that type of post. I would have thought there would be a class blog for that purpose rather than posting in random places.
     
  9. catnfiddle

    catnfiddle Moderator

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    Aug 11, 2022

    The citations make it an obvious assignment, but I like having new voices on here and hope the OP comes back.
     
  10. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Maven

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    Aug 12, 2022

    The OP mentioned what they were writing in their first post.
     
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  11. CaliforniaRPCV

    CaliforniaRPCV Comrade

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    Aug 13, 2022

    I really should learn how to read.
     

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