The way of reflection in teaching grammar as skills (Rob Batstone) . I need some simpler, clearer explanation with examples. Thanks.
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Without anything very specific, I can use an example of how I explain classifying sentences. All sentences are clauses if they have a subject and a verb. A complete sentence is an independent clause. A fragment that uses a subordinating conjunction or adverb is a subordinate (dependent clause). If you combine two independent clauses, you have a compound sentence. If you combine one of each, you have complex. A compound sentence plus a complex sentence is a compound complex sentence. It's simple math.
Rob Batstone has a pratical separation of grammar into product and process with product being the rules of the language and process the ways in which grammar "is deployed from moment to moment."
Long ago, when students would read books, they acquired grammatical skills as they observed and discerned the grammatical structure of their language in action. Nowadays, with so many aliterate students, their lack of grammatical skills is glaringly apparent. As a result, teachers feel compelled to drill students in the "product" of grammar. Sadly, however, this hard work often seems for nought because students do not make the transition from having learned a grammar skill to its application in reading and in writing.
In addition, there is a prevailing attitude that there is no need for anything but the simplest of structures. After all, who writes more than memos or text-messages? "Just those old people who need to retire, anyway." Of course, teachers understand that, as George Orwell stated, "One cannot have great thoughts without a great vocabulary" and--to add to this--great sentence structure. So, if the students will not read, have them write. Then, they can see how juvenile and uneducated they sound. Also, an instructor can teach grammar and structure from that pedestrian effort of writing. Sometimes when students understand that there really is a use for "all that stupid grammar," they begin to take an interest in learning the concepts. But, it is an arduous task not meant for the faint-hearted. Good luck.
As we are judged by others, in part, based upon the way we write and speak, grammar is an important skill. Rather than take 20 out of a grammar book to identify subject or or some other element, teaching students material upon which they can reflect to arrive at answers seems more viable. I recommend a resource titled Daily Grammar Practice. This resource uses one sentence each week and then teaches reflection by addressing different grammatical elements each day of the week. On Monday, students identify the parts of speech in the sentence. On Tuesday, students reflect on what they learned on Monday and then identify sentence parts. On Wednesday, students reflect on the previous day's learning and identify clause(s) and sentence types. On Thursday, students capitalize and punctuate. On Friday the reflect on what they've learned for the week, and they diagram the sentence. What they learn about grammar will manifest itself in their writing.
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