Home >  Blog >  Grammar teaching

Grammar teaching

Posted by Garry Collins, AATE President on 17 April 2014
  • The following letter to the editor was submitted to The Australian for possible inclusion on Wednesday 16 April 2014 but it was not selected for publication.
  • Also on the topic of grammar, a recent article in The Conversation is recommended to ETAQ members. It can be found here.

Textbooks covering grammar

As your editorial suggests, textbooks that deal effectively with grammar would be a useful resource for teachers in schools (“A lesson learnt from Singapore”, 15/4).

It needs to be clearly understood, however, that grammar textbooks from the 1950s or 60s dusted off and tarted up with some colour print would not suffice. To be genuinely useful, new textbooks dealing with grammar would need to be properly aligned with the sensible approach to knowledge about language to be found in the English component of the Australian Curriculum.

In addition, the grammatical patterns of the language should be learnt in the process of working with texts that have value in their own right, both the ones that students read and those that they compose in response to them.

There is an overwhelming body of research evidence that shows that the way grammar was generally taught in schools prior to the 1970s did not really work well for the majority of students. Then, grammar was disconnected from other areas of the curriculum and students were often bored by arid exercises with deliberately faulty sentences that had no meaningful connection to any genuine writing.

Let’s have useful resources by all means, but we should be careful about unproductively trying to turn back the clock.

Garry Collins
President, Australian Association for the Teaching of English (AATE)

Garry Collins, AATE PresidentAuthor:Garry Collins, AATE President
About: Garry Collins is the Immediate Past President of ETAQ and began a 2 year term as AATE President on 1 January 2014. A retired high school English teacher, he now works in the School of Education at the University of Queensland as a sessional tutor in English curriculum courses.
Tags:Curriculum matters
Axel2036 days ago
"There is an overwhelming body of research evidence that shows that the way grammar was generally taught in schools prior to the 1970s did not really work well for the majority of students. " But there is more research that shows that the way grammar was NOT taught in the 70s and 80s and beyond, worked for an even smaller proportion of students - with the result that today we have a whole lot of teachers who are themselves grammatical illiterates. How many teachers, for instance, are familiar with all the terms in this list of general grammar terms ? http://linguapress.com/grammar/list-of-terms.htm . And these are just essential terms, not the kind of terms that are known only to students whove studied linguistics or Chomsky

Post comment

Upcoming Events

Understanding Shakespeare

Rob Pensalfini will present this workshop via zoom on Saturday 15 October from 9am till 11 am. For further information download the flyer . Details for joining the zoom meeting will be sent on Wednesday 12 October. As this message will be sent to the email address in the registration it is important that you use your own address, rath...

Category: Workshop
Start Time: 9:00 AM
Date: Saturday 15th October 2022
Venue: ZOOM
Email Enquiries:  adminofficer@etaq.org.au


Early Career Conference 2022: Writing our future?

Writing our future? - a conference presented by and for early career teachers  on Saturday 22 October at Wynnum SHS (tbc)

Category: Seminar
Start Time: 9:00 AM
Date: Saturday 22nd October 2022
Venue: Wynnum SHS


External Examination Preparation

Registration Scroll down to register - but please do read this information Schools should register each teacher who will be using the materials.  Acting on feedback from last year, we will be making the materials available earlier this year. We will be running the External Examination Preparation as one package with more fl...

Category: Student (and teacher) Event
Start Time: 9:00 AM
Date: Saturday 29th October 2022
Venue: Online
Phone Enquiries: 0455464000
Email Enquiries:  adminofficer@etaq.org.au


Writing our future in Essential English 2022

Writing our future in Essential English - a community of practice especially for teachers of Essential English on Saturday 5 November.

Category: Seminar
Start Time: 9:00 AM
Date: Saturday 5th November 2022
Venue: To be confirmed


Indigenous Perspectives in the Junior Curriculum

After a work program review Town High explored ways to better embed indigenous perspectives in the year 7 program through a novella study of Black Cockatoo.  The unit became our first taste of analytical essay writing in year 7, in preparation for subsequent years.  We found greater engagement from students across the board. ...

Category: Seminar
Start Time: 9:00 AM
Date: Friday 2nd December 2022
Venue: Town High, Townsville
Email Enquiries:  adminofficer@etaq.org.au


View all

Latest News

View all

Blog Feed

Grammar myths

Sep 12 2017
An edited version of the letter below was pu...

Impact on learning

Sep 12 2017
The following letter was submitted to The Au...
Read all

Testimonials

Read All

This is the first time I have been to an ETAQ conference and it was really sensational to get so much at all of the sessions.

ETAQ conferences always have sessions that make me excited to be a teacher.

I know that ETAQ conferences in the past have never disappointed - valuable, relevant, practical, inspiring so I came again.

Read All

Newsletter

Receive updates
from ETAQ

Connect to a great range of people who are passionate about English and have their finger on the pulse.

Be Connected