Why Atlantic is Wrong about Grammar Teaching Being Wrong
No more diagramming sentences: Students learn more from simply writing and reading.
The problem is, the Hillocks study that the author bases so much of her thesis on is fundamentally flawed. Hillocks’ research question asked if teaching grammar improves students’ writing. Fair enough. However, his meta-analysis doesn’t limit itself to studies about using grammar instruction to improve writing. Instead, it is a broad analysis of a variety of studies of writing pedagogy, including the suss of sentence combining (which is not grammar instruction).
At no point n the analysis does Hillocks examine the efficacy of grammar instruction itself to see which method of grammar instruction improves students’ grammar. However, that lack of examination does not prevent him from drawing the conclusion that all grammar instruction is ineffective. We know that practicing one skill improves that skill. Learning how to dribble in basketball will not make you a better free-throw shooter, but it will help your game. The same is true of grammar. Practicing it will not make you more creative, but it will improve your writing game.
So instead of making seeping generalization based on flawed research, the author would be better served to examine which methods of grammar instruction are most effective. If a study like that can be found, I would be very anxious to read it.
This entry was posted in Inklings
and tagged grammar
. Bookmark the permalink