Teaching of Grammar Has Come to a Full Stop

Article excerpt

Byline: TONY HALPIN

CHILDREN no longer understand English grammar because it has virtually disappeared from secondary school lessons, according to a report published today.

Teenagers know so little about the rules of language that they cannot explain what a noun or a verb is, say experts at the Economic and Social Research Council.

Part of the problem is that teachers do not have sufficient grasp of grammar to explain it properly.

The research blamed so-called progressive ideas for the disappearance of formal grammar in English lessons. Foreign language teachers concentrated far more on traditional methods.

English teachers `paid little explicit attention' to grammar and instead concentrated on `matters of style and on personal growth and creativity'.

As a result `most pupils knew the names of a few parts of speech, such as noun, verb, or adjective, but few could provide a proper definition of what these terms meant'.

The disturbing findings emerged in a five-year study by the ESRC into the effects of education reforms and follow increasing public concern over standards of reading and writing. …