Grammar is back in fashion at a Washington area high school where Grammar Greiner teaches students the fundamentals of grammar, punctuation and capitalization. The Washington Post reports:
Grammar lessons vanished from public schools in the 1970s, supplanted by a more holistic view of English instruction. A generation of teachers and students learned grammar through the act of writing, not in isolated drills and diagrams.
Today, Greiner is encouraged, even sought out. Direct grammar instruction, long thought to do more harm than good, is welcome once more.
The SAT exam now includes a writing section and “a series of multiple-choice responses that test how well students can assemble and disassemble sentences.”
The National Council of Teachers of English, whose directives shape curriculum decisions nationwide, has quietly reversed its long opposition to grammar drills, which the group had condemned in 1985 as “a deterrent to the improvement of students’ speaking and writing.”
Now, even the sentence diagram, long the symbol of abandoned methodology, is allowed, if not quite endorsed, in the classrooms of Fairfax and Howard and other high-performing school systems throughout the region. To diagram a sentence is to deconstruct it as if it were a math problem, with the main noun, verb and object written on a horizontal line and their various modifiers attached with diagonals.
The “dirty little secret” is that most English teachers weren’t taught grammar in school and don’t know how to teach it.
When my daughter’s eighth-grade English teacher announced at Back to School Night that she was devoting two weeks to teaching grammar, she got a standing ovation from the parents.
Via Education Gadfly.