Michael Rosen, on his blog, has started to post an interesting series of discussions on the teaching of grammar. Grammar teaching is a perennial concern amongst our learners, their parents and their teachers. Rosen’s motivation to blog about grammar is in part due to the grammar tests shortly to be introduced in British schools (and he has pretty string views on the appropriateness of such tests). He hi-lights why grammar teaching is such a tricky area, for example:
One of the reasons why grammar is difficult and hard for all of us, but especially for children is that the moment you come up with a ‘rule’ or fixed shape or pattern of how language should be, and the moment we come up with descriptions for what’s going on, we run into problems: there are exceptions to the rule, or the description just seems to confuse.
And he offers interesting meditations on the whole business. Something that struck me as noteworthy is that native speakers nail the rules of grammar (i.e. use them unconsciously and with fluency) by the time they are 5 years old, before many even start school and formal grammar lessons! Needless to say this won’t be the same for our children, but it does raise an interesting point about how children learn grammar.
The first in the series is here.