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ERIC Number: ED613321
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2021
Pages: 5
Abstractor: As Provided
The Importance of Grammar
Rossiter, Andrew
Online Submission
It is sometimes claimed that teaching grammar is elitist. This article contends that in actual fact, far from being elitist, grammar is a vital ingredient in the English language teaching mix. Since the Chomskyan revolution in linguistics there has been a school of thought in the English speaking world that the formal teaching of grammar is unnecessary or even elitist. The author argues that in reality it is not the teaching of grammar, but the failure to do so, that is elitist. Among learners there will always be those, the linguistically brightest or most literate, who will master a language without needing to learn any grammar; for the majority of learners however, whether learning English as a native language or a second language, the essential rules of grammar constitute a vital framework without which language acquisition will be harder and slower than it need be. Ensuring that all learners master the norms of grammar and spelling is not only a prerequisite for reaching full literacy across society; it also encourages social cohesion and social mobility. When grammar and communication skills are mastered only by an elite, society will be more divided, based on literacy skills, and social mobility will be harder. A society in which a common language with its common norms is shared by all is intrinsically more inclusive and less divisive than one in which different groups of people have significantly different approaches to a common language or indeed are excluded from the mainstream by poor mastery of the/a common language. Part of the problem with "grammar" is that as a field of study it has often become equated with linguistic analysis; but pedagogical grammar and linguistic analysis are two different things. The teaching of grammar should concentrate on the essential rules and conventions that govern the everyday use of a language, thus helping learners to improve their literacy skills; linguistic analysis involves a critical assessment of the grammar rules that others have used or flouted, and is as likely to confuse average learners as it is to help them.
Publication Type: Reports - Evaluative; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A