I taught English and writing for 29 years at a renowned private school in North Miami. Teaching grammar and writing was my specialty, and I taught fifth and sixth grade for a number of years, but primarily taught eighth-grade English.
Eighth grade is the last year that grammar is emphasized because students are expected to know sentence structure by ninth grade.
This is not happening in the schools.
Grammar needs to be taught like math. The students must first learn how to identify the eight parts of speech like they are taught to first add, subtract, multiple and divide. The process should continue and build through elementary school, and the rules need to be memorized like multiplication tables.
Sign Up and Save
Get six months of free digital access to the Miami Herald
Students cannot understand sentence structure if they do not memorize the grammar rules. The idea that students learn to write by reading is incorrect, in my opinion.
All this needs to be done before critical thinking can take place.
Another problem is that education students in college are not taught how to teach grammar. So many young teachers honestly don’t know the rules and parts of speech themselves. They are taught that children need to feel comfortable with their creativity, so they are hesitant to correct their grammar or spelling.
Thus, children today cannot spell.
We’re in deep trouble in this country. Before a house is built there needs to be a strong foundation or else it will collapse. It’s the same with education. Creativity in writing has to first be based on facts and learning information. That’s where reading and vocabulary come in.
Our technologies are amazing today with the ability to communicate with people in minutes wherever they are, but communicating properly is a must if we are to have future generations that are able to compete in an ever-changing world.
Diane Koch, Miami