Monday, October 23, 2006

Grammer Classes Make a Rebound

Clauses and commas make a comeback
SAT writing section helps return grammar lessons to classrooms

I'm not a perfect grammarian, but I do know grammar is an important communication skill for those who want to get ahead. I am forever grateful to the nuns who taught grammar to me so well, that by the time I went to high school I used a college-level text book in my composition class.

The ability to communicate effectively through writing has diminished quickly over the past 20 years or so. I've seen it amongst those who have worked for me, and I especially see it in the youth of today. My own children are plagued with horrible grammar. When I try to correct them they tell me, "that's not how we learned it in school." Lack of grammar instruction compounded with email and text-messaging shortcuts have left them in the cold. I'm glad to hear grammar is making a comeback.

College instructors will be glad to learn of grammar's comeback as well. I happened to overhear a discussion on high school instruction between some college professors this past summer. To a person, they all lamented how poorly today's youth are instructed in English. One professor served on the college's entrance committee and told me that at least 3/4 of the youth coming into their college require remedial instruction so they can cope with college-level English and math courses. Things have gone a long way downhill since I had a college-level English class as a high school sophomore.

Grammar instruction isn't the only thing lacking in our education system today. The way math and reading are taught should be considered a crime. I try to help my kids with their math homework and I only confuse them more by showing them how to quickly get the right answer rather than the convoluted "hoop-jumping" they're taught at school. My oldest missed out totally on phonics and has problems reading to this day. Thankfully my younger children were sent to a private school which taught phonics even to preschool-aged kids. They read very well and are way ahead of their public school contemporaries. I hope math, reading and spelling instruction will make a comeback like grammar is starting to make.

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