To despair at the SPAG SATS test??(14 Posts)
I am really anal about using correct grammar, etc. I fully agree with children being taught and tested on their use of grammar and punctuation. I also think it's really useful to understand the basics of language structure such as what is a verb, prefixes, etc. All good stuff.
BUT really - what is the use of learning about present perfect, co-ordinating conjunction, etc. My year 6 dd is currently cramming this stuff with her class mates. Many of them are not good at writing and learning all this abstract stuff is not going to help them to write well!
Yep, and I think most teachers would agree with you. However, we have to put up, shut up and teach it anyway or be closed down.
I agree...i have a year 6 DC, and his homework stresses me out!! I was an English teacher for 10 years, secondary level, and didn't teach many of the complex grammar stuff that is required in yr 6. Punctuation, spelling, and basic sentence structure is all good, but the rest is a bit OTT.
It's very useful for learning a foreign language with a more complex grammar.
Can you guess that I'm a German teacher? Learning and understanding about your own grammar is not the most exciting thing in the world, but being able to label what's going on in a sentence will help you to speak correctly and to understand why you need to say certain things a certain way. The best age to learn this is when fairly young. Start easy in y1 and y2 with parts of speech and tenses and introduce the rest bit by bit. English grammar is really quite straight forward in comparison. The reason the kids are struggling now is that they have to cram lots in a fairly short space of time.
Seriously if it means I can stop teaching people English before I can start teaching them German everyone
I have an a level in English and was never taught any of that stuff. I will agree that it will be very helpful when learning languages in the future though.
Another MFL teacher here - it will certainly make our lives easier! I think it is all a bit crammed in for the SATs, but I also think much of what's being taught is perfectly sensible.
Adults who have not been properly taught grammar themselves often throw their hands up in horror when they hear words like 'coordinating conjunction' and 'present perfect'. They are just names. Names of basic structures we all use many times every single day, and yet most people don't even know what they are called and how they work. Kids in other countries seem to learn about them with no trouble. Perhaps that's partly why they are often so much better at learning foreign languages- because they actually understand how their own works.
My DD has really good English grammar, in fact I ask her to check things for me sometimes. She has been learning French for three years now and finds it really easy, as she says she knows a lot about grammar, it is a transferable skill when you learn a MFL. I think the SATs are quite stressful to cram it all in, but there is no actual harm in learning good grammar is there?
I dislike how they are being taught to write to a formula. Put in some fronted adverbials? Tick. Add a subordinate clause? Tick. Rhetorical question? Extra Tick.
Yes the aim is to write more complex sentences that make your writing more interesting for your reader... but it is all just reduced to some soulless formula.
I'm an MFL teacher as well. I would like my year 7s to come to secondary school able to identify a noun, verb, adjective, adverb, conjunction. Of course, it makes my life easier when their English grammar knowledge is higher than that.
However, I still think that SATs should test writing, including creative writing, and correct use of grammar, rather than knowledge of grammar. That may mean that I have to spend a bit more time teaching grammar to KS3, of course, but I would rather the pupils had functional literacy and enthusiasm for writing.
I agree, TanteJeanne. I'm all for teaching more grammar (and using the proper terminology for it), but it is not necessarily being taught well, probably partly because almost none of the primary school teachers knew it themselves before they suddenly had to start teaching it last year, poor things.
For my DD at least, the time spent naming the more complicated grammar in y5/y6 would have been far better spent on making sure she could write and punctuate to a basic level, something she has always really struggled with. She is now needing literacy intervention in y7 for stuff that really should have been sorted at primary.
So for the more able kids, fine, it will support them with MFLs. But for less able kids, not at the expense of core literacy.
Having gone through school in Germany and now working with different schools in the UK I see the current development as a step in the right direction, but there really is no need to put so much additional stress on the children.
It's a matter of get them while their young, not by but so by the time they get to SATs it's already second nature. Identifying different parts of speech or knowing when to use which tense is really not that hard if you don't have to memorize it all at once (especially if your teachers only just had to learn the theory themselves )
I find the "writing by numbers" immensely depressing. My elder son is a 'greater depth' writer. He is very logical and bright, sees spelling patterns instantly, and if he is told he needs to use a rhetorical question, these 5 types of punctuations, and at least one fronted adverbial he will do it. He is a dream "new curriculum" kid. But his stories are rather lacking in imagination and a bit stilted; he isn't a great creative writer. My daughter on the other hand is 'at age related expectations' in writing, because she doesn't always get every piece of punctuation correct (she's only 6) and her handwriting is poor. But her stories flow beautifully, they are creative and the content is fantastic. Somewhere along the line things have gone wrong when the overall story and the natural flow of a good writer is ignored for a tick box set of "things to include" and where overall craft and flow is entirely unvalued.
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