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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 13, 2012
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The Importance of GrammarThe ancient Greeks have passed down grammar where it has evolved intoLatin and then into English. This prestigious way to eliminate error has had a highvalue of importance throughout the history of the English language. Students havebeen taught to follow the "holy" grammar handbook to prevent them from makingerrors. The
handbook’s importance
was never questioned until the 1960's whenBraddock said 
“In view of the widespread agreement of research studies based upon
many types of students and teachers, the conclusion can be stated in strong andunqualified terms: the teaching of formal grammar has a negligible or, because it usually displaces some instruction and practice in actual composition even aharmful effect 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, of whom I will talk about, but not much has beenchanged. So where do we go from here? Is grammar really that important and do weneed it to be perceived as intelligent individuals? If so, should we learn it throughthe use of handbooks or is there a more efficient way? If we should teach it, what age is appropriate?These are all questions that have been a main drive for theongoing conversation about Grammar.I argue that there is a specific time to teachgrammar and that there are specific times and places when the importance of grammar should be raised or lowered. The argument I am making is much morecomplicated than a simple sentence explaining where and when, to whom or howwe should use grammar; but much simpler than memorizing the entire 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 en
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 ear
ly 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 who demanded importance of success from school. All these types of students were disciplined to do well in school to help out the family or to keep thehigh status name of the family.
If disciplined students from the early 1900’s
, who
’s
circumstances demanded a hard work ethic in school, were always punished for
misusing grammar, 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 problemis, that no matter what era we are in, students until at least late years of high school,
just don’t comprehend the “skill and drill” of grammar.
If this were not true, thenwhy do students learn the same thing year after year in school? As Warner says,
It seems the educational establishment doesn't expect students to "get it." Can any of us imagine a math or science 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 or against teaching grammar for whatever reason, they cannot deny this argument. The amount of studen
ts that don’t 
understand is far too highwhen teaching the rules of grammar. Warner also includes in her a
rticle, “If the ShoeNo Longer Fits”, research from psychologists
,
 
Jean Piaget, Laurence Kohlberg amongothers, that individuals develop cognitive reasoning at different times in their life.In her research, she found that only some adults and adolescents reach the highest levels of formal operational thinking. This level of thinking could be the level of thinking needed to understand the fundamentals of grammar (Warner 77). If this istrue then why, at such young ages, does the education system INSIST on teachinggrammar?
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 t 
he grammar handbook? In “AnalyzingGrammar Rants”, by Kenneth Lindblom and Patricia A. Dunn, they also argue that 
there is a certain time to teach grammar even if that 
isn’t 
during adolescence. They
state, “
Whether we like it or not, powerful people make value judgments about 
other people’s intelligence based on language use.
Young writers and speakers must learn that the forms of language they choose will be judged, sometimes harshly, bytheir audiences, and their ability to appear intelligent will be effected by their
audiences’ opinions of their language choices” (Lindblom and Dunn 72). As
explained above, the desired result expected from teaching grammar, is that students can become better writers so that they accumulate good and proper

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