Have you seen the cute examples of how important grammar is?
Yeah, as a grammar nerd, I think it’s pretty hilarious. Grammar is something that most teachers (especially of the English/Language Arts variety) would argue needs to be taught, but so many people struggle with the best way to teach it. Do you teach it in context? By specific skill? What do you teach first? Parts of speech? Punctuation? There are so many questions, some just find it easier to say, “Forget it!”
I, myself, was a member of the teach-by-skill club. I used workbooks (no, no, not the workbook!) and the assignments were done as bell work (during the first 5 minutes of class). We worked our way through the entire workbook so that by the end of the year, students had covered all the major, grade-appropriate concepts – from parts of speech to modifiers, appositives, and more. At the end of each chapter, I would give a short (like, 3-5 question ‘short’) PSAT-like quiz on the concept. It worked for me. Did the kids learn/retain it? I’d like to think so. Would it work better if taught in context? Maybe.
The trouble is, kids don’t think they need to learn grammar. They hear everyone around them using poor grammar. They hear “between you and I;” see they’re, their, and there mixed up; mercy save us from the you’re, your issues…and more. They encounter these errors every single day – and sometimes in professional settings (commercials, billboards, even in textbooks). Why should they be bothered to learn the rules when it seems like no one else follows them?
My tried and true motivator is the job interview/application. I tell them that the people who do the hiring are, by-and-large, educated individuals with a decent grasp of the English language. When filling out the application and sitting in on the interview, using proper grammar can only benefit you. But I think the most important tool in getting buy-in for students to take grammar instruction seriously is being around people who model correct grammar.
That’s why I think this freebie is a great idea – you can use it yourself and/or give it to students. Enjoy!