Monday, January 11, 2010

Grammar and Punctuation. For Doctoral Students.

I was recently invited to be a guest speaker for our doctoral course in Writing for Publication. "Cool!" I thought. "I love doctoral students!"

But. The inviter asked me to speak on grammar and punctuation.

Wha---?

For doctoral students?

Seriously, what exactly would I cover? And why couldn't doctoral students figure out for themselves, or with the help of their advisors, what their problems are and how to solve them?

And what about the DECADES of research on grammar instruction in isolation, indicating that grammar instruction -- if taught separately from students' actual writing -- has no impact, or even a negative impact on student writing?

If I were a doctoral student taking that course, I would not be happy that my time was being wasted in this way.

I'm sure that there are doctoral students who need some help with their writing, in terms of their use of standard English, but this is not the way to go about helping them.

I declined the opportunity.

10 comments:

海綿寶寶 said...

goodjob!........................................

Mark Pennington said...

Perhaps a useful starting point for our discussion would be to come to consensus about what we expect students to know about grammar and when. Establishing a common ground on this issue can help us determine what to diagnostically assess in order to determine our students’ relative strengths and weaknesses. Only at this point does it make sense to discuss the instructional strategies that will address the needs of our students. For more about how to establish this consensus, read this article at http://penningtonpublishing.com/blog/grammar_mechanics/grammar-instruction-establishing-common-ground/

導暑紀時 said...

君子如水,隨方就圓,無處不自在。 ..................................................

Ted Nellen said...

hey bad ass,
grammar and punctuation could actually be fun when we consider ee cummings poetry and Shakespeare. knowledge of both are crucial in understanding these genius' and others. check out punctuation games next time you are asked to have fun.

ted

現實 said...

我來湊熱鬧的~~^^ 要平安快樂哦........................................

開會討論 said...

good~ keep sharing with us, please....I will waiting your up date everyday!! Have a nice day........................................

開心唷 said...

Always read stuff that will make you look good if you die in the middle of it.............................................

VirtualProf said...

I teach doctoral students. The sad fact is that more than half of them desperately need remediation in grammar. How else are they to get that help?

Urban Exile said...

I am a Spanish teacher and I teach both adults and a few, hand-picked (by me) young ones. Most of them are learning their first tidbits about grammar for the first time by studying Spanish. Punctuation is another matter, because the rules of the road are a little different in Spanish.

I think that Mark is a bit off in his comment. It is all very open and progressive sounding to say we should let students know "what we expect (them) to know about grammar and when," but it is farcical to imagine that a doctoral student should need help with these matters. Gadzooks, man, you shouldn't even be admitted to a four-year college without a solid comprehension of this information!

Demand more earlier. Much earlier. There are books on these topics. My favorite phrase for students? "Go look it up."

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