I went to school in the 1980’s and 1990’s, when I was at primary school there was no emphasis on the teaching of grammar. Some might say that this is all too evident in my writing, whilst others have mentioned to me that they find my turn of phrase and lack of punctuation quite charming. All I can say is that it hasn’t really held me back in life, either at work where i’ve had to write exhibition panels, articles and labels or at university. Although, I did focus on some quite scientific topics where it could be argued that a lack of ability to over elaborate is beneficial.
Life has taken a different turn though and with children requiring help with homework, Gove and the new National Curriculum comes an emphasis on the ability to not only use things like verb inflections, but actually know what the phrase even means. Basically, I cannot fathom what the children are even talking about when they explain what they learnt in literacy and when it comes to assisting with questions about it, i’m lost.
I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that at the moment I’m resorting to a Carol Vorderman book on basic grammar. The children know more about it all than me. I’m finding it incredibly difficult to pick up and learn at this advanced stage of life. I can only compare it to trying to re-learn to drive; you can do it perfectly adequately but you’d probably get a D+ after years of personal independent practice. I’m hoping that someone out there in the Internet universe might be able to point me towards a free online grammar course or similar, because basically I think I need someone to teach me. Then I wouldn’t look so confused every time the conversation comes around to fronted adverbials or something similarly sounding.
If only you could sit in on lessons with your children, think of the learning opportunities which you don’t appreciate when you are younger! I don’t think this is a problem peculiar to myself, I didn’t do A Level English where i’m assuming a lot of this would have been learned (at least in my day). It has however, got me thinking about the value of learning all this stuff; I mean, I earn a large amount of my living from writing and i’ve not needed it until now.
From there you could consider the actual value of learning a lot of the stuff you learn at school. Yes, there is a point in learning for the sake of learning, but surely only if you enjoy it. Maybe a new, new national curriculum should have a greater emphasis on learning the skills which will move this country forwards rather than taking it a step backwards.
I will stop myself before I go off on a tangent! Do let me know if you have this problem, how you’ve tackled it and if you have any top tips. Maybe we could start the class of 1979- 1993 grammar idiots…