Teaching Grammar in Context: Stepping away from Grammar in Isolation
It is often difficult to convince teachers and students that grammar instruction is a necessary part of the school day. Some who do believe that it is pertinent have a hard time of incorporating it so that it is authentic and effective. Historically, the need for grammar instruction has moved all over the spectrum of "necessary and unnecessary". Researchers and educators have debated this idea for decades and controversies have followed. Most controversies are based around the methods of instruction used. Focusing on researched based ideas, and discovering what it is that drives students to learn can provide teachers with avenues that support the "necessary" side of the spectrum while paying attention to how learners learn best. Tossing out line item worksheets and creating reading and writing activities in the context of what students are learning will eliminate any reservations about grammar instruction in the classroom. Effective teaching methods can be incorporated into the curriculum by using the activities that are occurring daily in reading and writer's workshop. As a teacher, creating a community that fosters this type of learning will ensure that all students are confident and ready to learn. Students who are able to work together can constructively discover why grammar is relevant to their lives as readers and writers. Assessment is a necessary piece used to drive instruction and prove growth over time to students. Students need to see that they have corrected errors and improved their grammar usage. This paper examines key ideas for teachers to keep in mind when designing a classroom and curriculum integrated with the teaching and learning of grammar.