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06 August 2014 @ 08:30 pm
Doomed  
Whether you ascribe the following quote to George Santayana or Edmund Burke, "Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it," it is still a good place to begin my rant this evening. Each week (and lately it seems more often), I am treated to an online round-up of news about literacy. Last month, the newsletter links all took me to summer "camps" which were the focus of a recent blog post. In the last few days, links have disturbed me even more. One link was for a sight where teachers could download worksheets and quizzes about grammar. Here is the link: http://www.theguardian.com/education/2012/jul/30/guardian-teacher-network-resources-grammar. Over 100 worksheets and quizzes. Wow. I am simply stunned.

Forget the link and its worksheets. I am dismayed that a literacy organization provides this type of "support" for the teaching of grammar. I have to think this organization simply does not know its own history when it comes to grammar. Fortunately, the work of George Hillocks and others still exists. Ironically, here is a piece from NCTE which is allied with the literacy group that posted the link to the worksheets: http://www.ncte.org/magazine/archives/125935.

And here is the money quote: "Many people think that direct instruction and drill in grammar -- the exercises remembered from their own schooling -- provide the shortest, most logical route. About a century of research, however, indicates otherwise. In classrooms where much of the time is spent on grammar exercises, student writing may even get worse. That's because, in those classes, students are spending more time underlining parts of speech or diagramming sentences than actually composing."

Let us not have to fight this battle again.
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