TEACHING GRAMMAR AS COMMUNICATION IN THE CURRICULUM.
Rather recently, in the late 1900s, Dr. Bertrand Russell of Harvard University emphasized a philosophy of realism in which he initially stressed the importance of each word standing for something real in a lifelike situation. He believed that too many misunderstandings occur in society due to faulty use of language. Precise accurate statements are then necessary in communicating with others.
The author does much writing and finds the essentials in grammar to be highly useful in making for clarity and meaning in communication endeavors. Grammar needs to be taught in sequential grade levels in the school setting and beyond to assist students to become better communicators. It should not be taught for the sake of doing so, because tradition states its significance, but rather practical uses can be made thereof. Starting with the parts of speech and then moving forward, students subsequently may become better writers to improve communication endeavors. Negative public relations have accrued because individuals failing to say orally or in writing what the intentions in communication actually were.
The parts of speech need a solid beginning with high quality instruction in terms of relevant uses, leading to college, career, and/or civic life. To achieve this goal, pupils at a young age, pupils need teaching and assistance in mastering the parts of speech to aid in the communication process.
The Parts of Speech
Beginning in the early public/private school years, the student needs to be knowledgeable about naming a person, place, or thing. Here, initial learnings pertaining to what a noun is, is being emphasized. Thus, the teacher may hold up a few objects stressing the identification of a noun. These may include a ball, a bat, and a glove. Pictures of objects may also be included. The goal being that pupils being able to identify a noun. Individuals might be viewed within the classroom of learners as being in the category of persons, additionally, the concept of place must be emphasized with the naming of concrete and semi-concrete materials of instruction. Vocabulary development is being stressed along the way as well as skill in oral communication. The printed word should accompany each category of person, place, or thing. Reading of abstract words then are related to each category.
Sequentially, students may label each word in a paragraph which is on their reading level. Here, the teacher notices which students do/do not understand the categories of nouns, such, person, place, or thing. Depending upon the progress made, students also might well notice that a noun can be changed from singular to plural.
Verbs might be taught next in sequence where they notice action words. Students individually in class might perform an action such as walk, skip, dance, or run. The verbs need connection with nouns as in the following;
* boys walk, or the names of classmates--Alice and Jane walk. The concrete, actual situation, becomes the abstract, such as in writing activities.
* the top spins. Spins is a verb and portrays action. State of being verbs such as is, are, am, may be stressed later in an ordered approach and these are few in number. In each of the above asterisked items, person, place, or thing are stated as nouns, sequentially.
As the school days move on, the pupil might experience the concept of adjectives. As words which modify nouns, pupils may look around to notice how colors change or modify shirts or dresses worn. Instead of white shirt, a blue color is in evidence. Thus, an adjective, noun, and verb is connected--Tall boys walk. Illustrations as well as video tapes which are appealing also assist in teaching and learning situations. Teacher observation is highly useful in noticing what learners do/do not understand involving grammar. For instance, if pupils do not attach meaning involving adverbs as a part of speech, the diagnosis should pertain to a specific as in adverbs modify verbs. With a concrete situation--the girl walks slowly--the last word tells how she walked. Several examples may need to be used in helping pupils understand the role adverbs, or other parts of speech, aid in communication. It is helpful for pupils to realize that the questions of how, when, and where in modifying verbs then stress the importance of adverbs. The girl walks how, slowly. The girls walked when, yesterday; the girl walks where, there. Learners might well raise the question of the "ed" ending on walk which indicates time or past tense. It is excellent if pupils raise questions pertaining to what is not understood. Inquiry methods, as compared to lecture, are preferred in teaching when feasible. Pacing of learnings must harmonize with what may be reasonable expected of pupils. If the pacing is too slow, pupils might become bored and distracted; if too rapid pacing is in evidence, pupils might turn off due to the impossibility of achieving objectives of instruction.
Emphasis, too, must be placed upon the saliency of assisting a pupil in a respectful approach. The emotional aspect of a learner needs attention in that satisfying leanings must be provided in order to secure and maintain pupil attention. Purpose or accepted reasons for achievement are continuing objectives in grammar study. That purpose being to increase efficacy in the communication arenas. Thus, the psychological aspects of instruction provide models for teaching grammar.
To follow grammatical terms in grammar, pupils sequentially need to learn about the use of prepositions. A preposition shows a relationship between a person and an object and might well be dramatized in the following method--A pupil sitting in the desk, on the desk, infront of the desk, behind the desk. near the desk, among others. Thus, pupils can observe a learner with the preposition in and desk (object of the preposition) in a direct relationship. Dramatizations may be repeated or modified as necessary. The part of speech conjunction fits in nicely with the above dramatization, such as the conjunction and joining the names of two individuals together, e. g. Bill and Bob or Sara and Nancy sat in their desks or behind their desks. Later in sequence, pupils may learn if a prepositional phrase is adjective or adverb, depending upon if it modifies a noun or verb. The teacher must always make judgements on when is the appropriate time to teach each part of speech as a means of effective communication.
Interjections as a part of speech shows strong feelings and generally ends with an exclamation point. Orally, the interjection shows strong feeling with a greater loudness level. The teacher might need to model a part of speech such as an interjection, followed by pupils providing a word of strong feeling that they have used.
Pronouns might be taught together with nouns, or later if the concept load becomes too heavy. A pronoun substitutes for a noun and provides for variety in communication. Thus, instead of repeating a noun excessively, a pronoun may be used. Examples to provide learners may be the following; Ben jumped rope. If the name "Ben" is utilized too frequently, sequentially, the written product becomes boring. The pronoun "he" can be substituted. The sentence then reads,"He jumped rope." There are few pronouns such as he, she, it, they, and you. These may be placed on a word wall for all in the classroom to observe. Prepositions, too, which are few in number might be written on the word wall. It is surprising how many pupils, at their brief leisure will view the words on the word wall.
Many in society feel that leaning the parts of speech is merely route and memorization in nature, for its own sake, as well as being useful for testing purposes. Knowledge and skills acquired must be relevant and useful in a technological age. The parts of speech are no exception. Vocabulary growth may occur when the parts of speech are being taught. Thus, when studying a simple sentence, such as Madeleine walked too school, there are a plethora of words which substitute for Madeleine, as well as for walked, and school. Then too, it is enjoyable for pupils to play around with words. Pupils are then observing sentence patterns with brain storming methodology of instruction. Interest is generated in these kinds of experiences with active involvement of learners.
Learning experiences and activities should be as real as possible which are lifelike and provide content for the abstract--the written sentences.
To reiterate, the study of grammar and rhetoric has a long history beginning with the ancients as in Greece and remaining very important during the Middle Ages. The then trivium was made up of grammar, rhetoric, and logic whereas the quadrivium included arithmetic, geometry, music, and astronomy. The writer when in grade school (1934-1942) and in the high school years (1942-1946) studied grammar and rhetoric in a highly systematic and sequential way in English classes In college, he experienced two quarters of grammar study. While teaching at Friends Boys School on the West Bank of the Jordan River in the Middle East in the then nation of Jordan, he taught English with heavy emphasis upon grammar. The writer finds grammar to be highly poignant in writing journal articles for publication as well as for co-authoring university level textbooks.
Presently, it has become an issue pertaining to the following;
* how much grammar should be taught
* how should grammar be taught
* how should written products of pupils be evaluated?
Ediger, Marlow (2017), The Case for Teaching History of Education in in Teacher Education, Edutracks, 16 (8), 38-39.
Ediger, Marlow (2014). Essays in Teaching the Language Arts. New Delhi. India: Discovery Publishing House.
Dr. MARLOW EDIGER
Truman State University
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|Date:||Dec 22, 2018|
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