The letter below was written in response to an article in The Australian and submitted for possible inclusion in the edition of Monday 8 December. It was not, however, selected for publication.
The teaching of grammar
I completely agree with Richard King on a couple of points: that the teaching of grammar is important; and that ideas and language skills are not mutually exclusive alternatives (Strictly speaking, grammar nuts have a point, 6-7/12).
However, some notes of caution need to be sounded. He reports that even his brightest students at the University of Notre Dame display far too many grammatical errors in their writing. That is not the case with the prospective secondary English teachers that I have as students at the University of Queensland. Perhaps variation in entry standards for different institutions is a relevant factor here.
King makes the rather sweeping generalisation that a whole generation of teachers - possibly even two - have no idea of how to teach grammar. The more moderate claim that some teachers would benefit from a greater understanding of grammar would probably have been closer to reality.
He attributes this state of affairs to policy decisions made as long ago as the 1970s. Given that King was apparently not born until 1971, I wonder how he acquired his knowledge of grammar if all of his own teachers were as ignorant as his statement suggests.
The English component of the Foundation to Year 10 Australian Curriculum has an appropriate focus on grammar but it does not invite an uncritical return to the generally ineffective ways of teaching grammar that prevailed in schools prior to the 1970s.
President, Australian Association for the Teaching of English (AATE)
Short Stories and Poetry
The transformation of text is demanding and difficult, but it is also often a thing of beauty. General English Unit three requires students to transform a poem into a short story, which requires us to guide them through this process. Using poems as stimulus for short story is inspiring and energising and this workshop will offer practical a...
March Masterclass 2022
We are delighted to announce our first event for 2022 will be the March Masterclass: Writing: Our future to be held on Saturday 12 March 2022 at Iona College, Lindum, when Dr Sally Humphrey, senior lecturer (Literacy Education) ACU will present the keynote address. The program will be available by 28 January and registrations will open ...
May Seminar 2022
The May seminar Writing our future ... will respond to developments in the text list, National Curriculum and NAPLAN. Keynotes will be presented by Lisa Bottomly and Sophie Johnson, from QCAA with supporting workshops on the new additions to the text list.
JCU Spectacular 2022
Join Dr Claire Hansen for a two-hour session on teaching Macbeth. We'll dive into an exploration of the language of Macbeth and teaching strategies to engage students with Shakespeare's Scottish play. The workshop will also explore learning activites for Macbeth created by the Shakespeare Reloaded project. For further details, see the...
Indigenous Perspectives in the Junior Curriculuk
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. ...
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