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Yet.  That, you may notice is not a fully formed sentence.  I confess that although I can nit-pick with the most illiberal of grammarians I sometimes allow myself a brief slipside into the abyss of literacy permissiveness.  After all the sky is not going to fall in on account of a badly placed comma,

I sometimes wonder about teaching grammar.  I notice that foreign students get the technical names for things like prepositions, future perfect tense, suffixes, prefixes and so on.  What I find is that when trying to teach adults with holes in their literacy education using these terms gives them at least twice as much new information to take on board, which can actually hinder their learning.

Ok I am not talking about academic students here, I am talking mainly about people who lack some elements of basic functional literacy but I do “enjoy” an ongoing internal dialogue about whether I should keep them in the dark about the nature of these beasts or fight the jargon tooth and nail.  Keeping things real in the classroom.  After all, if you are busy mum with P.E. kits to remember and a job and bills to pay what do you need to know.  Obviously everyone is different but I think people need to know the applications of to, too and two as opposed to 2, but do they need to know they are called homophones?  Well I think you can introduce that idea and explain that the term is to do with “homo” – same and “phone” sound but then that’s quite a lot more to remember…

Is it a battle between form and function?  I favour function over form in the beginning, otherwise everyone can get jolly confused.  Can’t they?

Very interesting but not entirely necessary

Very interesting but not entirely necessary

Posted on March 14, 2009, in Be not idle, Words and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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