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Grammar lessons are wrong for writers

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Hold up! Before you read on, please read this...

This post was published more than 15 years ago

I keep old posts on the site because I often enjoy reading old content on other people's sites. It can be interesting to see how views have changed over time: for example, how my strident teenage views have, to put it mildly, mellowed.

I'm not a believer in brushing the past under the carpet. I've written some offensive rubbish on here in the past: deleting it and pretending it never happened doesn't change that. I hope that stumbling across something that's 15 years old won't offend anyone anew, because I hope that people can understand that what I thought and felt and wrote about then is probably very different to what I think and feel and write about now. It's a relic of an (albeit recent) bygone era.

So, given the age of this post, please bear in mind:

  • My views may well have changed in the last 15 years. I have written some very silly things over the years, many of which I find utterly cringeworthy today.
  • This post might use words or language in ways which I would now consider highly inappropriate, offensive, embarrassing, or all three.
  • Factual information might be outdated.
  • Links might be broken, and embedded material might not appear properly.

Okay. Consider yourself duly warned. Read on...

Grammar lessons are wrong for writers (Guardian)

In a pressured curriculum, where the development of literacy is a high priority, there will be better ways of teaching writing and our findings suggest that the teaching of sentence combining may be one of the more effective approaches

How has the curriculum become more pressured than it used to be? Could it be due to the teaching weeks lost to exams, and because increased bureaucracy means that teachers have to be given ten percent ‘non-contact’ time?

Primary schools should return to a basic system of studying Maths and English for at least ninety minutes each every morning (9am to 12.30pm, allowing for breaks), and then having a series of different subjects for around two hours in the afternoons (1.30pm to 3.30pm) – The Arts, History, Geography, Science, and Games. Exams should be taken at the end of the Michaelmas and Summer terms (external exams where necessary, internal exams at other times).

The exams should determine into which group each child should be placed, so that one stream could have more challenging exercises and accelerated learning covering much wider topics than those required to pass public examinations, whilst others could cover the basics at a slower pace.

What’s difficult about that system? It worked for me, there was plenty of time to teach grammar, and there was no feeling of a ‘pressured curriculum’.

This 225th post was filed under: News and Comment.

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