Sunday, September 9, 2012

What have I learned?

English 326 is my first true grammar course and in the first three weeks I have learned a fair amount. I have learned that certain aspects of grammar can trend, like a style of clothes or music, and are indeed shifting. This shift is from older, more traditional views of grammar to styles and uses that are used more and more often by media sources. These sources are usually magazines and articles on the internet. AS A STUDENT, IT IS IMPORTANT THAT I HAVE A STRONG GRASP OF WHAT IS CORRECT IN ORDER TO DO WELL IN CLASS; AS A TEACHER IT WILL BE CRITICAL TO UNDERSTAND THESE SHIFTS IN WHAT IS BELIEVED TO BE CORRECT GRAMMAR IN ORDER TO TEACH MY STUDENTS PROPERLY.
            Secondly I have learned more about basic elements of grammar like commas and apostrophe’s and how they are used. Before this class I had a vague notion of what was deemed correct and the rest I left up to spell check on my computer before I turned in a paper. For example now I know that in a contraction the apostrophe goes in place of the missing letter. I know it seems like common sense but quite often I would just kind of guess at where it would go, at least when I was writing by hand and spell check was not available. I have also learned that possessive pronouns such as ITS, WHOSE, YOURS AND THEIRS DO NOT NEED APOSTROPHES. As I said before, had I typed out a possessive pronoun and added an apostrophe spell check would have most likely caught it and edited for me and I would have been none the wiser.
            Working with apostrophes I have learned that their placement on a word can change its meaning entirely, and that whether or not you use one is based completely on the context of the sentence using it. I always had an understanding but this concept has been clarified for me over the past three weeks in this course.
            Moving away from the more technical aspects of grammar I have learned more about teaching styles and how to teach grammar more effectively. The story concerning Dora was very helpful in my opinion. As we had discussed in the Socratic seminar Dora is a very idealized student, since she is fictional, and that for a student as young as she to react that positively to grammar would be very rare. Yet the point of the story is still important to understand. Teachers often teach at their students, that is to say they just talk and talk and their words are falling on deaf ears. The teacher in Dora’s story allowed her to make mistakes, to experiment and learn on her own and when she did make a mistake the teacher was there to help redirect and guide her towards the correct answer. While this style of teaching will not necessarily work for every student it is a way to help keep the more active learners on track and then more focus can be put on the more difficult students.


  1. I absolutely agree with you on the teaching styles and how so many teachers literally just talk AT their students, which does absolutely nothing, especially if the students are not interested in English. But by interacting with the students and forcing them to figure out what they are doing wrong, they will become engaged and learn better.

  2. Your point you made in the beginning of your blog I find to be very critical and grammar truly is shifting. As I have learned in many previous classes new media is having remarkable impacts on the world from news, language, education and entertainment. With all the changes that are happening it is no wonder that our grammar seems to be molding into something new and current.

    I also liked your take on the article that we read about Dora. What I liked about it was how you explained the teaching styles of Dora's teacher and how she new when to step in when needed.

  3. well, conventions aren't shifting THAT quickly. The areas of shifts have been that way for a couple decades, before public use of the Internet. Also, I wasn't sure what you meant when you said that apostrophe placement can totally change meaning. Can you give me an example?
    As for patterns of the week: you can drop the comma after the "as a student" and "as a teacher"--but you don't want to put a comma in one but not the other. Be internally consistent.
    And you need to use those possessive pronouns in their own right, not as a list of words. Do try again next week. Thanks!