Thursday, February 14, 2008

Session D - Mechanically Inclined: Teaching Grammar and Editing in Context

This session focused on the idea of teaching grammar by using good sentences and emulating them rather than using bad sentences and correcting them. The teacher puts up a model sentence and asks students what they notice about it. I like this for several reasons:

  • It avoids the idea that grammar is something broken that must be fixed.
  • The only way to "get it wrong" is to notice something that's not actually there.
  • Helps prevent fix-everything syndrome, where the students go through and just change all the periods to commas and vice versa. (Slight exaggeration, maybe, but yanno what I mean.)
  • By comparing a changed version of the sentence to the original, it shows how changes in grammar are changes in meaning.
  • Students produce good writing in small, non-threatening nibbles.
I liked this session quite a bit, although I thought Mr. Anderson might've had a bit more caffeine than he'd truly needed that day. ;)

Oh, and we also got a copy of one of his books at the close of the session (the one I got was Everyday Editing). Yey!

Edit: Ew. I don't like the little daisy-bullets. Can't I get regular ones?!!


Hannah J said...

I work in the writing/reading center of the community college I attend; what a helpful post! We get so many ESL and otherwise, shall we say, challenged writers each day; error analysis doesn't help with some of them. I will try to remember your strategy and use it where appropriate; thanks!

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