Preparing to Teach Writing: Research, Theory, and Practice

By James D. Williams | Go to book overview

6
Grammar and Writing

WHY IS GRAMMAR IMPORTANT?
Most English and language arts instructors are required to teach grammar at some point, yet few credential programs require them to take a grammar course as part of their degree. Too often, those programs that do require such a course have housed it in an English— rather than a linguistics—department, which typically lacks the resources to teach any of the developments in grammar that have occurred since the 19th century. As a result, large numbers of newly credentialed teachers are unprepared to teach grammar effectively. The situation is made more acute by the fact that administrators and parents often judge what students are learning about language on the basis of what they consider to be “the basics”: nouns, verbs, prepositions, adjectives, and adverbs. “The basics” are deemed especially important when reports surface periodically of students' difficulties with writing. Even more problematic is the widespread failure to differentiate between grammar and usage, for most of the errors in writing that are decried by back-to-basics advocates are not related to grammar at all but rather are errors in usage.Grammar is about how words fit together in patterns to communicate meaning. The most common patterns in English are Subject + Verb + Object (SVO) and Subject + Verb + Complement (SVC). Examples of these patterns are shown as follows:
Macarena baked the cake.
Macarena looks pretty.

-171-

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Preparing to Teach Writing: Research, Theory, and Practice
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents vii
  • Preface xiii
  • 1 - The Foundations of Rhetoric 1
  • 2 - Contemporary Rhetoric 42
  • 3 - Best Practices 98
  • 4 - The Classroom as Workshop 131
  • 5 - Reading and Writing 151
  • 6 - Grammar and Writing 171
  • 7 - English as a Second Language and Nonstandard English 215
  • 8 - The Psychology of Writing 257
  • 9 - Writing Assignments 279
  • 10 - Assessing and Evaluating Writing 297
  • Appendix A - Writing Myths 345
  • Appendix B - Sample Essays 354
  • References 362
  • Author Index 385
  • Subject Index 391
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