Syntax, in the study of linguistics, “…is the study of how words are combined to create phrases and clauses in the sentences of a language” (Freeman and Freeman, 2014 p 230). What does current research say about the teaching of grammar? What do teachers need to know about grammar and how will this change your teaching of grammar?
Teaching grammar might have changed since you were in the classroom. “Research had proven the traditional approaches to teaching grammar have not been effective in improving students’ speech or writing” (Freeman and Freeman, 2014 p 262). When I was growing up, teachers would have grammar lessons that would just focus on grammar outside of communication or writing. We would have to recite rules and be able to identify incorrect sentences. We did not focus on writing or speech. When we wrote a paper, our grammar was just corrected with a red pen and nothing more was done. We did not know why we made the mistakes or receive any guidance on how to not make those mistakes in later assignments.
There are several methods to teacher grammar. “In the grammar-translation methods syntax is taught directly and explicitly” (Freeman and Freeman, 2014 p 286). Teachers using this method have lessons in grammar and teach their students grammatical rules and how to use them in their writing and speech. Teachers using the inductive approach to teaching syntax do not teach grammatical rules directly. These teachers use learning experiences to help students discover. They might use songs, games and different activities to help student discover the rules.
Grammar should be taught, and certain rules explain to students. I would like to go over a rule a week and then implement that rule in my student’s writing. My students are all special needs and during our writing time we have been working on format. I teach 6th grade though 12th grade and for some reason someone told them that a paragraph is just five sentences. If they have five sentences, they are done. I have been working on writing paragraphs with my class and explaining what a paragraph is and how we format one. In class, we go over one grammar rule per project. Then when we work on our project, I will focus on the grammar rule we have been working on. It might be as simple as capitalizing the first letter of the first word in a sentence. Unlike other classes, my students need basic skills before they can move onto more complex grammar rules. Once we are finished with capitalization we are going to work on punctuation and ease my students into it.
There are many things’ teachers need to realize in teaching grammar. Teaching grammatical rules for your first language, will help students in learning grammar in their second language. According to the article, What is Syntax, “Explicit teaching of grammar rules and students maybe be necessary for students especially for ELLs gaining academic language.” Students who are English Language Learners, need to be given direct instruction of grammar rules. They more than likely have learned the grammar in their own language and having that background will help them learn the new grammatical system in English.
Though grammar might frustrate a lot of people, it is an important skill to have. Learning grammar helps improve all types of communication, helps students develop of base for learning a second language, it helps you think more logically and speaking and writing with proper grammar will display your intelligence.
Freeman, D. E,. & Freeman, Y. S., (2014). Essential Linguistics: What Teachers Need to Know
to Teach (7th ed.). Heinemann.
What is syntax? (n.d.). Retrieved from http://linguisticsforteachersofells.weebly.com/syntax-in-the- classroom.html