Wednesday, February 13, 2013

The Importance of Grammar and Spelling

The subbing job I had today started with a daily language exercise, where the students were supposed to correct the spelling, grammar, and punctuation of passages with underlined mistakes.  This they did fairly accurately and well.  Then, later in the day, for social studies, they were presenting Prezi slide shows, with material taken directly from a textbook.  The spelling, punctuation, and grammar of the Prezi presentations was appalling.  Titles were randomly capitalized; "their" and "there" were incorrect; periods were absent from sentences; sentence and paragraph structure were incorrect, etc.  Now, I know this was a fourth grade and their skills are still developing, but it seems to me that, before they were allowed to present their Prezi to the whole class, they should have had the teacher go through the presentations with them to check for grammar, spelling, and punctuation errors.  This is WHY they study these topics:  so they will learn to USE them in their own writing.  Yes, I know there are exceptions and Prezi presentations can be very effective with no capital letters and purposely misspelled words.  But you need to know the correct way, in order for the incorrect way to be effective.  Otherwise, it just looks sloppy, unfinished, or unpolished.  And yes, I also know that, for some students, just doing the presentation represents massive effort.  But when the majority of the students aren't using proper writing conventions, it says to me that they aren't being told that they are important. 

This is by far not the only time I have seen this phenomenon.  Far too often, students spend significant amounts of time in language arts classes, studying grammar, spelling, punctuation, and usage, only to have those skills be completely ignored or discounted in all of their other classes.  This makes correct spelling (and the others) seem important ONLY in spelling class.  Everywhere else it is ignored.  No wonder there is such a disconnect between the subject areas.  Yes, ideas are important; yes, technological skills are important; but grammar, spelling, punctuation, and usage are also important.  Or why else do we spend so much time teaching them?

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for sharing this nice post. When you are planning to write some thing in English Language, it is very important to follow the Grammar and Punctuation tips to express your idea concisely.