Less than 10 percent of Robert Archer’s 10th graders know grammar:
What’s a noun? How about a verb? Can you tell the difference between a complete sentence, a fragment, and a run-on? Can you make sure your subject and verb agree?
A 14-year veteran teacher in Spokane, Archer doesn’t blame middle-school teachers. He blames curriculum developers for “imbedding” grammar in the curriculum.
. . . in my experience, the term “imbedded” is nothing more than educationalese for “not ever specifically taught.” Somehow, this grammar-is-imbedded movement is supposed to help students naturally take in what proper grammar is (i.e., grammar by osmosis). It’s very much a hyper-constructivist approach to education; the students are supposed to “discover” proper grammar on their own as they read good pieces. Then, somehow and some way, they are to emulate these proper mechanical structures in their own writing.
. . . Allow me a moment to let curriculum developers in on an English-teacher trade secret: It ain’t working! When I’m hoping for nothing more than 3-4 grammatically correct sentences being strung together at a time as the sign of a “good” paper, then my expectations have dropped far, far too low.
Preach it and teach it, writes Robert Pondiscio on Core Knowledge Blog.
On Back to School Night, my daughter’s eighth-grade English teacher told parents she was going to go off curriculum for two weeks to teach grammar and punctuation. She got a standing ovation.