Teaching Grammar…With Urgency
I’ve been fascinated by the recent upswing in interest in the state of education in our country, and it’s in a sorry state, no big surprise. Which is probably the most disturbing aspect of all. We’re not terribly surprised—and we should be. It’s also no secret that we’re lagging behind in things like math and science, but also in reading and writing skills. This should be particularly shocking. And isn’t.
Literacy: the ability to read and write. What a deceptively simple concept. What a tragic mistake to fail to instill these skills in students. Let’s face it, we simply can’t function out there in this fast-paced world without strong literacy skills. And let’s face it again, teaching grammar with an emphasis on rote memorization isn’t cutting it either.
When helping to create Grammar Punk I returned again and again to the old maxim, “If you teach a man to fish…” Writing is one of those skills that can only become ingrained and part of a student’s repertoire by doing. You can’t learn to write without writing. Writing everyday. Writing with a purpose.
I also love the concept of “muscle memory.” Muscle memory, also known as motor learning, is a form of procedural memory that involves consolidating a specific motor task into memory through repetition. In other words, the more you do something the less you have to struggle with it. I know when I’m typing or using ten-key if I stop and really think about what my fingers are doing it throws me off my pace. This is also what happens when I’m writing and really into the story or concept I’m barely aware of anything but what I’m creating. Writing is doing and doing is learning.
Teachers of grammar and English we’re aware that this concept is easier said than done, which is why Grammar Punk takes the ouch out of teaching grammar and puts it back where it belongs, in the teaching of writing. Created by a teacher of English who loved everything about teaching Language Arts with the glaring exception of grammar, Grammar Punk was born. Grammar Punk will not only boost those test scores it will also create writers with muscle memory. From the first (already created) lesson to the last students will learn by writing. Students will learn. Students will write. They must.