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Paper 4

Paper 4

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Published by Molly Doyle

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Published by: Molly Doyle on Mar 05, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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The Importance of GrammarGrammar has been passed down by the ancient Greeks where it has evolvedinto Latin and then into English. This prestigious way to eliminate error has had ahigh value of importance throughout the history of the English language. Studentshave been taught to follow the "holy" grammar handbook to prevent them frommaking errors. The
handbook’s importance
was never questioned until the 1960'swhen Braddock said 
“In view of the widespread agreement of research studies
based upon many types of students and teachers, the conclusion can be stated instrong and unqualified terms: the teaching of formal grammar has a negligible or,because it usually displaces some instruction and practice in actual compositioneven a harmful effec
t on the improvement of writing”
(Warner 76).Here we have one of the first arguments relating to the importance of grammar andthe way that it is being taught. The grammar construct has been questioned andargued about by many writers but not much has been changed. So where do we gofrom here? Is grammar really that important and do we need it to be perceived asintelligent individuals? If so, should we learn it through the use of handbooks or isthere a more efficient way? If we should teach it, what age is appropriate? Thesequestions have been apart of this ongoing conversation about Grammar. I argue that there is a specific time to teach grammar and that there are specific times and placeswhen the importance of grammar should be raised. The argument I am making ismuch more complicated than a simple sentence explaining where and when, towhom or how we should use grammar; but much simpler than memorizing theentire grammar handbook.
Why do we teach Grammar if the students don’t “get it”
? ( do they get it?)
From the beginning of the English Language, students in English class weretaught grammar through the precise instructions and rules of the grammarhandbook. I personally
vision children in the 50’s being slapped on the wrist for
forgetting a comma here or an apostrophe there. The strict use of the handbook hasbeen stressed year after year through generations, condemning kids for their errors.
Back in the early 1900’s, students had hard lives where they had to walk miles to
school in crappy weather, go to school while working on farms, or were apart of awealthy family. All these types of students were disciplined to do well to help out the family or to keep the high status name of the family. If disciplined students from
the early 1900’s who were motivated to do well in school for the well being of their
family and themselves were always punished for misusing gr
ammar, wouldn’t that 
motivate them to study harder?
This means that its not just a “boring” subject,
which to many it still is, but, I believe that the problem is, that no matter what erawe are in, students until at least late years of high school, just d
on’t comprehend the“skill and drill” of grammar.
If this were not true, then why do students learn thesame thing year after year in school? As Warner says,
It seems the educationalestablishment doesn't expect students to "get it." Can any of us imagine a math orscience curriculum where the same material is presented and drilled year after year
as is the case in grammar textbooks?” (Warner 77)
. Weather someone argues for oragainst teaching grammar for whatever reason, they cannot deny this argument.
The amount of students that don’t 
understand is far too high when teaching therules of grammar. Warner also includes in her a
rticle, “If the Shoe No Longer Fits”,
research from psychologists,
Jean Piaget, Laurence Kohlberg among others, that individuals develop cognitive reasoning at different times in their life. In herresearch, she found that only some adults and adolescents reach the highest levelsof formal operational thinking. This level of thinking could be the level of thinkingneeded to understand the fundamentals of grammar (Warner 77). If this is truethen why does the education system INSIST on teaching grammar, especially at suchyoung ages?
The importance of Grammar: Business and Employment 
What is the point of teaching grammar? Why have schools put such animportance on the study and rules of the grammar handbook? The desired result expected from teaching grammar, is that students can become better writers so that they accumulate good and proper communication skills in hopes that they can beaccepted into the business/ real world. On the other hand, if students do not recognize error, they will not be seen as professionals or even educated in the eyesof their employers and it can hurt their credibility. If we are to look at grammar inthis way, we must take into consideration the importance of grammar. In
Beason’sarticle, “Ethos and Error”
, he describes the importance of error outside of the
handbook use of the classroom. He says, “Errors must 
be defined not just as textualfeatures breaking handbook rules but as mental events taking place outside theimmediate text 
(Beason 35). Beason conducted a study of 14 business people, both

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