http://www.timesonline.co.uk/newspaper/0,,172-1446455,00.html
"Traditional grammar teaching is waste of time, say academics By Tony Halpin, Education Editor
"TEACHING formal English grammar to children does not help to improve their writing skills, a government-funded study concluded yesterday. Teachers were wasting their time explaining the meaning of nouns, verbs and pronouns to pupils as part of the national literacy strategy in primary schools, academics at the University of York said.

"They were more likely to improve children’s compositions by abandoning the rules of syntax and encouraging them to try experimental methods of sentence construction.
"The study by the English review group at York was funded by the Department for Education and Skills, which did not distance itself from the conclusions, even though the literacy strategy emphasises “the centrality of grammar in the teaching of writing”. A DfES spokeswoman said that the national curriculum “supports a range of approaches to teaching of grammar”.
“I would not like this to be seen as a swing back of the pendulum to 1960s liberalism. I would like to see it as a clearing of the ground to put behind us the notion that teaching formal grammar would help to improve the writing of the nation."

They go on to advocate the American system of sentence combining.

“This research looks like it is advocating a return to the laissez-faire attitudes of the 1960s, when youngsters were not taught grammar because teachers thought it would restrict their creativity. Now we are left with a generation of teachers who don’t know grammar.”

wrmst rgrds
Robin Bignall
Hertfordshire
England
1 2 3
"Traditional grammar teaching is waste of time, say academics

For certain values of "traditional", "grammar" and "teaching" that were not made clear on the news reports I heard.

JGH
“This research looks like it is advocating a return to the laissez-faire attitudes of the 1960s, when youngsters were not taught grammar because teachers thought it would restrict their creativity. Now we are left with a generation of teachers who don’t know grammar.”

That last comment is typical end-of-civilisation-as-we-know-it silliness. Many people write excellently without knowing the difference between copulas and attributives, just as many excellent musicians can't tell a quaver from a crotchet or many excellent drivers can't tell a big end from a tappet.
You don't need to be a mechanic to be an expert user. All you need is some guidance and lots of practice.
Kids today write badly because they don't read. End of story.

Ross Howard
Students: We have free audio pronunciation exercises.
Robin Bignall wrote on 19 Jan 2005:
“This research looks like it is advocating a return to the laissez-faire attitudes of the 1960s, when youngsters were not taught grammar because teachers thought it would restrict their creativity. Now we are left with a generation of teachers who don’t know grammar.”

Hooray! I love to read stuff like this. I plan to send this to all the teachers in my English department.

Franke: EFL teacher & medical editor
For email, replace numbers with English alphabet.
wrote on 19 Jan 2005:
"Traditional grammar teaching is waste of time, say academics

For certain values of "traditional", "grammar" and "teaching" that were not made clear on the news reports I heard.[/nq]The idea that "a detailed knowledge of grammar will somehow contribute to an improvement in one's writing" is enough of a value for all three. There's much more than can be said about what grammar need and need not be taught to primary and secondary school students. I think all native anglophones should have a fundamental knowledge of the grammatical structure of normal English sentences and should be able to analyze what each word and phrase in a sentence actually does, but no one needs to be a grammarian in order to write well.

And what students need to know about grammar can be determined by the kinds of questions they ask about the language they read and write. Grammar can be taught first via listening and speaking and then reading and writing. But it need not be boring, dry, technical, and fundamentally useless, as it is now in countries where the primary content of EFL classes is grammar and not using the language to communicate.

Franke: EFL teacher & medical editor
For email, replace numbers with English alphabet.
Ross Howard wrote on 19 Jan 2005:
On Wed, 19 Jan 2005, Robin Bignall wrought:

“This research looks like it is advocating a return to ... left with a generation of teachers who don’t know grammar.”

That last comment is typical end-of-civilisation-as-we-know-it silliness. Many people write excellently without knowing the difference between copulas and attributives, just ... you need is some guidance and lots of practice. Kids today write badly because they don't read. End of story.

And their parents don't give a damn about their writing skills.

Franke: EFL teacher & medical editor
For email, replace numbers with English alphabet.
Students: Are you brave enough to let our tutors analyse your pronunciation?
Many people write excellently without knowing the difference between copulas and attributives, just as many excellent musicians can't tell a ... need to be a mechanic to be an expert user. All you need is some guidance and lots of practice.

Why should anyone accept the foregoing as true?

1. In 50 years of musical performance I have yet tomeet an excellent musician who cannot tell a quaver from a crotchet.

2. The third example demonstrates RH either doesnot know the difference between driving and engine repair or wishes us to ignore it, without providing any particular reason.

3. The first point is probably true, that many peoplewrite grammatically without knowing why. This also disqualifies such people from work as editors, who must not merely write correctly but spot errors in other people's writing and (sometimes) be able to
explain to authors their grammatical errors. (I suggest skill as an editor is more closely relevant to skill in writing than auto repair is to driving well.)

Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs
(Ottawa, Canada)
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/newspaper/0,,172-1446455,00.html "Traditional grammar teaching is waste of time, say academics By Tony Halpin, Education Editor

(snip)
For something a bit better than newspaper reports, see where you can download the whole thing.
The significant point is that this review attempts to cover all* research on the teaching of grammar since 1900. One critic (Prof David Dennison, quoted in the Telegraph) points out that "much of the evidence was from the 1960s and 1970s, when grammar was badly taught, or from the 1980s, when reaction against it meant that relatively little was being taught at all". The relevance to the efficacy of *current teaching methods seems to be marginal. The main agenda seems to be to promote something called "sentence combining", whatever that might be.

Don Aitken
Mail to the addresses given in the headers is no longer being read. To mail me, substitute "clara.co.uk" for "freeuk.com".
“I would not like this to be seen as a swing back of the pendulum to 1960s liberalism. I would ... would help to improve the writing of the nation." They go on to advocate the American system of sentence combining.

Don't you need to know what a sentence is first? Perhaps not.
“This research looks like it is advocating a return to the laissez-faire attitudes of the 1960s, when youngsters were not taught grammar because teachers thought it would restrict their creativity. Now we are left with a generation of teachers who don’t know grammar.”

Trying to improve my students' writing skills is an uphill battle. I am tempted to allow them to submit work written in txt but I would have to learn txt first.

Laura
(emulate St. George for email)
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