A few interesting points…<br />And a few thoughts to ponder…<br />
What’s happened to our grammar?<br />“I kept thinking how much grammar is not valued in college classes as much as it was in the past…Why is grammar only valuable to writing classes, yet the leadership professors get upset when students come to their classes and ‘can’t write well.’” – Lisa Thrush<br />Whose responsibility is it to teach writing and grammar?<br />
Starting point.<br />“I learned to read, write, and spell in first grade.” – Holly McGowan<br />We begin our learning at a very young age. Spelling tests are given every week, but eventually the teaching stops and we are somehow expected to just know how to read and write and use proper grammar.<br />This is creating a serious gap in student learning.<br />
Starting point. continued.<br />“As teachers of language and literacy, we tend to think of reading and writing as mutually supportive processes.”<br />“So because as a group we have been particularly invested in the similarities between reading and writing, we have spent less time thinking about how reading and writing can be in competition with each other” (pg.162). <br /> – Deborah Brandt<br />
Setting standards.<br />Locally, we have the TAKS (and now STAAR) test which measures what and how well a student is learning and a teaching is teaching.<br />Instead of teaching to prepare students for the future and for college, teachers are having to test according to a test. <br />The “emphasis on testing leads to ‘narrowing of the curriculum, overemphasis on basic skills, [and] excessive time spent in test preparation” (Cleveland, 2007).<br />What problems are these tests creating in readers and writers?<br />
Setting standards. continued.<br />“I wonder how many other promising writers we have lost due to the ‘boxing in’ of standardized writing tests?” – Pricilla Woolford<br />Because grammar isn’t a major focus of learning and testing, how are students going to learn these skills when teachers are having to teach to the tests?<br />These standardized tests do not allow students to explore and learn, but instead they have to follow a set curriculum put forth by the state.<br />
On the local.<br />“When I moved to Texas, writing disappeared. We never did anything like that, not even in English. Mostly, in English, we read.” – Caitlin Stanford<br />Again, if grammar is not taught in the schools at an early age, and college professors expect students to already know it, then who will teach it?<br />
On the local. continued.<br />The English Usage Test was “given in your junior year to determine if you had accomplished a command of the English composition skills...To pass, you had to demonstrate a command of grammar.” <br />“It seems to me that we give this test after a student has had fourteen years of school that would have included many years of grammar as well as two year of college English.” – Ken Davis (pg. 151)<br />After fourteen years (now it’s fifteen or even more) of school, when do students learn how to write?<br />How did educators teach these skills to their students thirty, fifty or more years ago?<br />
The big questions to ponder.<br />Who responsibility is it to teach reading and writing?<br />Why is this learning gap happening?<br />What can we do to stop this trend and prepare our students for college, and ultimately, life in the real-world?<br />
Works Cited.<br />Cleveland, L. (2007). surviving the reading assessment paradox. Teacher Librarian, 35(2), 23-27. Retrieved from EBSCOhost.<br />Silver Leos Writers Guild. Memories of Old E.T. Commerce: 2010.<br />Various authors, Eng. 571 class at TAMU-Commerce, Literacy Narratives, Fall 2011.<br />
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