As a mechanic needs naming words for the parts of an engine, so a student needs naming words for the components of speech and writing. This book provides those who learn or teach Grammar with these skills. It provides teachers with an armoury of learning strategies to use at various levels. Our national language, and the culture from which it has formed, is the rightful inheritance of all English-speaking people. It deserves to be taught with knowledge and respect.
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And to Gavin, also our business partner, supporter and friend. Acknowledgment Thank you to my husband John who suffers my long work hours and sometime distraction! Also I acknowledge all of our Quantum Literacy Tutors, supporters and friends, who have been enthusiastically awaiting the book.
Many teachers have come through a period in which grammar was neglected; for others, grammar has been taught in a haphazard way. What has brought about this situation? During the s and 70s, many believed that traditional elements of scholarship should be updated to suit the practices of contemporary education.
There followed a period of uncertainty. No one was sure whether grammar instruction should take place or not. Often, if they believed it should, the new curriculum failed to allow it. However, many in the profession believed that the absence of grammar instruction was contributing to a lowering of literacy levels.
As a return to the grammar instruction courses of the past would be unacceptable, a supposed solution was devised — a system which became known as new or functional grammar.
This system involved the generalisation of grammatical terms, and stressed the function that language performs, rather than the parts of speech described in traditional grammar. But before the age of 12 or 13 — long after the need for basic grammar tuition — children do not normally begin to think in abstract terms. We need to show that grammar need not be dry or tedious, but can be both fascinating and relevant.
Some of you may have received no grammar instruction at all; others may have been offered it in a random fashion, eclipsing its true function. The question is, how do we pass on this knowledge? Firstly we need to understand it ourselves and, even better, develop that passion and enthusiasm in our students. So how might we define grammar? Just as one cannot explain how a motor engine functions or is failing to function without naming words for its parts and their specific actions, so it is impossible to explore the function of words and the part they play in forming meaningful language without a naming procedure.
This is no less true of grammar. However, in modern usage this word has lost much of its detrimental connotation. Of course, no one invented grammar — it was there all along, an intrinsic part of the first meaningful speech uttered by human beings and, likewise, of their first meaningful writings. But at some point, interested scholars were inspired to make a study of it and its systems, both for their own better understanding and to enhance the language skills of their students — the same aim that we, as teachers, have today.
The study of grammar is believed to have its origins in both India and Greece. In India it was for the study of recited forms of Sanskrit, and in Greece for the study of written language. It is the latter that provides the source of our own studies. Grammar and literacy are intrinsically bound. One of the first to formulate a system of grammar was Dionysus Thrax, from Alexandria. Through the following centuries, various scholars have set their own mark on the development of grammatical thought.
A Roman, Marcus Varre, produced 25 volumes on the subject, translating the Greek and then applying the grammar to Latin. Interest then spread around the world, with grammarians of other countries comparing the features of their languages with those of Latin. The best-known early English grammarian was Ben Jonson, who also based his work on Latin.
Lowth sought to remedy the dearth of simple grammar textbooks, but he earned criticism for judging the language as well as describing it. His pedantic approach led to such oft-quoted prescriptions as the inappropriateness of ending a sentence with a preposition. Certainly these would appear dull and tedious to most modern students, but they do, nevertheless, provide excellent detailed explanations for those of more linguistic bent.
Because we know something, it does not follow that we can explain it to others — especially to a child who may learn in quite a different way from you — his teacher. For example, take the concept of a syllable. Eventually you put it all together to give an accurate definition: a unit of speech consisting of a word, or part of a word, containing one sounded vowel.
Or for adult students: a segment of speech, uttered with one emission of breath the breath is emitted with the sounding of the vowel. This will require a full explanation of the definition, which can be done with practical demonstrations such as clapping, or feeling when the jaw drops for the utterance of the vowel. Rule 1: Know your definition or at least have a good dictionary handy so you can check.
Rule 2: Remember to give your definition as the dictionary does in the same part of speech as the word being defined.
Rule 3: Keep the definition as simple as possible while maintaining all aspects essential to accuracy. Rule 4: Discuss with examples to increase understanding and application. Rule 5: Take note of words with two or more meanings, but the same spelling homonyms such as chest, bulb. Rule 6: Practise! And use the words in both oral and written sentences. Animating teaching strategies for all learning styles Often the mistake is made of assuming that what seems to be a purely academic subject such as grammar can be taught only in a dry unimaginative way.
But this is far from true. Awareness of the need for more active involvement in learning has come about with the greater understanding of how the brain works, and the accompanying recognition that people vary considerably in their learning modes. In addition, the importance of teaching to the whole brain through multisensory activities cannot be over-emphasised.
We know then that people learn in a variety of ways. Even within one family we often see that what works with one child may be useless for another. So, while the more sedentary skills of reading and writing are an essential component of grammar education, active learning with kinetic exercises can play a vital part in reinforcement, especially with younger age groups.
By delivering instruction in a variety of creative ways, using all the channels to the brain, we are ensuring not only that all students can benefit, but also that they will enjoy their lessons.
Gender differences Though it was probably never in doubt, research techniques show that boys, in general, are less inclined to sit at tasks for lengthy periods. They prefer, and need, more physical activity. Confident language mastery Developing confident language skills is arguably the most important outcome of our teaching procedure. Certain principles govern the use of every language and relate to such things as word meaning and accuracy , the arrangement of words or word groups in a sentence syntax , stress given to certain parts of a word and, in most languages, the use of punctuation.
Another important distinction denotes the purpose of a statement, i. Intonation It is important, too, to be aware of some of the principles, or at least guidelines for the way we use our voices and thereby convey the purpose of our utterance.
It is easy to overlook the fact that we cannot use intonation in written communication — neither can we be asked to repeat or clarify it; our writing must convey all our intentions.
Test the following passage by reading it in monotone. Oh no! Get out. Get a rope. How did you manage to fall in? Ambiguity As teachers, we need to be highly conscious of the potential for ambiguity that exists in a language like English, which depends heavily on word order for meaning.
The human brain actually encompasses infinite memory but the secret of retrieval lies in how we record information in the first place. We can use the analogy of a computer, which is itself designed to imitate the operation of the human brain. We know that we have to install a computer program in a totally accurate way; omitting even one dot may impede its function.
Then once the program has been successfully installed, we are able to add information to its files and recall it at the click of a mouse. As the human brain can store infinitely more information than any computer, we can see the importance of accurately filing the information that we want it to retain.
By ensuring that our teaching follows a logical progression, we are enabling each detail to be filed systematically; only in that way do we establish a fully functioning system for recall. The best time to learn Looking at English books for seniors it seems amazing that students at this level are having phrases and clauses explained to them long after they should be manipulating them confidently and showing a high degree of language competence.
No wonder they are bored and frustrated at what, to them, must seem belated and therefore irrelevant. Ideally, this information should form a substantial part of the English curriculum in upper primary so that correct forms of sentence structure have been well practised by the time that the mature student needs to concentrate more on subject matter. Moreover, the junior student is far more receptive to training in the tea chin g str ateg ies for the conte m porary cl assroom basic mechanics of language, and while the teacher has an ongoing responsibility to coach and direct, the more mature mind should now be exploring more creative ways of manipulating language for a variety of purposes.
Structure the program Because grammar is such a structured science, it is of the greatest importance that we teach it in a structured way. As it pertains to everyday speech and writing, to the visible and concrete as well as the abstract objects in life, it is not difficult to start grammar instruction in the third year of schooling. Now we need to establish the foundation on which our structure is to be built, namely the parts of speech, and the terminology, definition and function of each one.
The order in which we teach these also forms a logical sequence. Using the logical progression of simple to complex allows us to teach in easy steps whereby one concept fits on to the previous one to form a cohesive whole, just as by building brick by brick, we can construct a solid and stable wall.
As this book is designed for all teachers, including some who have learnt little or no grammar themselves, it is important that all detail is included. Teaching and understanding concepts Sometimes students will have a good idea about a concept long before they can put a name to it; for example, most will be well aware of tense long before they know the term or realise that there is one, simply because they are expressing it naturally in every statement they make.
We teach these things so that they can talk about them, understand how to use them correctly and well, and know how to apply them to other languages.
This is not always possible in a demanding curriculum, and either way, some terms may be explained in a simple manner and discussed and practised more fully when they arise in the curriculum. For example, a child learns early that a sentence can consist of a noun and a verb. The verb must have a subject for it to make sense. Homework Homework should always be brief in the early stages — never onerous. To be effective it should be based on the learning of the same day, providing revision and consolidation, bearing in mind that much of what we learn will be forgotten if not reinforced within 12 hours.
Introducing lessons It is a good idea to vary the way in which you introduce a subject, especially if you are teaching reluctant students. Some students may be turned off by the mention of grammar, so be creative. For example, you might ask the students to say what they did last evening or this morning before school. A discussion could evolve from asking students what they had for tea the day before. After all have had a turn, some of the answers could be written on the board.
Each answer forms the object of the sentence. I would not like squashed toad. Mediums and learning aids Use a variety of mediums.
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Mirisar Bellacitria rated it liked it Apr 03, English is now spoken, also, by more than million people around the world. Then set up a personal list of libraries from your profile page by clicking on your user name at the top right of any screen. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. Rini Mucharama marked it as to-read Sep 17, More about verbs It deserves to be taught with knowledge and respect.
Grammar for Everyone: Practical Tools for Learning and Teaching Grammar