Today in class before we began our discussion on the topic at hand, one of my students said "I and my other professor" need to meet for tutoring. I stopped in my tracks and asked him to repeat his statement. He, of course, repeated it, and I, of course, corrected him.
This was a beautiful teaching moment in that others in the class chimed in and we had a short, but effective discussion on misuse of pronouns, especially the I and me inversion. With no provocation from me, the class began to brainstorm other errors in our English language which were either egregious or just grinding to the ear.
My conclusion from this morning in class led me to the realization that the video from the Wall Street Journal on June 22nd was, in my personal opinion, right on spot! This generation knows the proper grammatical usage to apply, but just does not see the importance in being precise and correct. We can't blame it on texting even though many would like to. It is more in the camp of habit than lack of knowledge.
As educators, then, it seems to me we need to lead by putting this grammar wagon at the front of the education convoy. As educators, we need to be cognizant of the discussions that are taking place in our classes and stop whenever and wherever we are in our instructional pattern to make the timely grammar corrections. This correction does not have to be embarrassing for the perpetrator, and I believe this is what we refer to as a teachable moment.
After reading my blog, what are your thoughts? Is it possible to do a 180 degree turn with our grammar wagon? And if so, how do will you do this?r
I find it very interesting that the WSJ video suggests that the current generation knows proper grammatical usage, but doesn’t see the importance of being precise and correct. Always among the skills that employers want, first and foremost, is the ability to speak and write clearly and effectively. So, is the question really how do we teach students that correct grammar—being precise and correct— is important?
Certainly, taking advantage of those teachable moments to talk about grammar mistakes/misuses in the classroom context, as you found the opportunity to do, is much more interesting and has a longer lasting effect on the students than teaching a grammar lesson on pronouns. I agree with you that our ears should be open and we should not miss opportunities to jump into the world of grammar. The benefit will be that students’ spoken and written communications will become stronger.
Maybe if teachers are more cognizant of the timing for correction - just maybe that will begin to make a dent in the usage of proper grammar. If proper speech becomes more common for these kids, maybe it will translate into the written word. It is rather like us having influence in our small corner of the world. If the Community can enlarge that corner, then there really is hope.
Thanks for your comment.
Our students' real world of writing is through the Social Media. The students don't have to write correctly, they only need to get a brief message out quickly. What does that entail? Short cuts to spelling, no sentence structures, just get the message out with using as few words as possible. I believe that the students need to continue to learn the “proper” way to write for many different platforms. They need to know how to write a friendly letter, a business letter, a persuasive letter/composition, etc. If the students don’t have this vital instruction, they will begin to believe that you should only use “Social Media” form of writing.
Absolutely, right on spot! I bet we would be astounded at the number of job applicants who use "text-ezze" in their writing requirements for employment. Maybe if we bring this issue to the forefront, we can literally turn the wagon around. It does take a village that's for sure.
Another thing that they need to understand in relation to context is that a lot of people that they may hope to impress (i.e., teachers, employers, etc.) don't have a clue what many of these shortcuts kids are using mean. I guess they might see this as a good thing in their social life, but when they want something from us (like a job) it is in their best interest if we understand what they are saying.