"You teach writing and mechanics and usage will follow naturally."
- Charles Ellenbogen
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In your view, when is the most productive time to comment on usage and mechanics in a piece of student writing?
Select the answer that most closely reflects your thinking.
Throughout their careers, several researchers who appear in this workshop have concentrated on analyzing the teaching of grammar and other issues of mechanics and usage. They have worked with other authors to prepare this NCTE Assembly for the Teaching of English Grammar Guideline. It contains answers to questions teachers might ask about teaching grammar and offers many concrete classroom activity suggestions.
Rebecca Wheeler (who appears in this workshop) and her former student Rachel Swords have given us permission to include this article in our resources.
The article talks about using contrastive analysis to look at language patterns in student speakers (especially African Americans). Building on an analysis and valuing of those patterns, Swords was able to help her students increase reading scores and writing acumen. The information in the article is applicable to all academic levels and offers inspiration and instruction to teachers who want all their students to succeed.
Research has shown that grammar instruction done in isolation has little effect on student writing. Because of this, many experts who appear in Developing Writers urge teachers to teach grammar in context. Teaching grammar in context, for example, involves analyzing student work for problematic usage or mechanics and then addressing the issue in class through mini lessons or student conferences.
What do you think? Share your thoughts with your peers on Channel-Talk.