Christopher Batnick gets in his take on the whole language/grammar debate with another vague and largely unsubstantiated attack on English teachers everywhere in the AGE today which takes up most of the back page of the education section.
He argues that the ‘consequences of virtually no grammar instruction for three decades are plain to see’, drawing on the Australian Association of Graduate Employers (yes, Virginia, there is apparently such an organisation), the Defence Force Academy Dean and other undefined ‘research’, making these claims along the way.
English teachers who do not teach grammar are effectively abrogating their responsibility. English is more than texts. Any student who learns a language other than English learns grammar, so why is English any different?
If grammar is not a central part of English teaching in classrooms, then surely children with poor communication skills are disenfranchised.Then there is the quality of the graduates who want to become English teachers. This is not uniformly high.
The uncomfortable reality is that there are English teachers in classrooms who are poor spellers, know little grammar and are unclear about punctuation. How can they teach children well?Teachers who are unable to correct student work accurately and explain errors to a student are simply not performing professionally.
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