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Teachers and grammar\language fans, opinions desired.....

(7 Posts)
fastweb Mon 18-Jul-11 10:37:38

Grammar and Logical Analysis of 1st language- Opinions ?

My son does exams every year in Italian (he is mother tongue, we home educate to provide a bilingual education). The Italian curriculum and exam is very heavily focused on grammar analysis and logical analysis. He is not quite 11.

This morning in prep I'm running him through his paces ready for said exam so we are doing stuff like (just to give you an idea of how detailed it has become by fifth year elementary)

The -;fem;sing (well it is feminine and singular in Italian, doesn't really translate to English)
sister -com.noun; of person;fem;sing;concrete
of -prep;masc;sing (again the masculine thing is Italian specific)
Enrico - proper noun;masc;sing;concrete
sleeps- verb to sleep; III conj; indicative mode; tense, present.


Mario - Subject
has gifted - Verbal Predicate
to Chiara - terminal complement
a flower - object
for affection- cause complement

It takes hours to do a complete exercise of a whole paragraph, and even longer to teach and provide enough practice so he can remember all the twiddly bits that go with each part of speech.

The number of complements are endless, I swear soon they are going to breed to the point where "[a cake] [of cream]" will demand a [confectionery complement] label. It's Italian, not Latin, so it is a real "squish,squash" job to make it fit the model of for Latin.

Please point out the positives of all this work, because I really need something to cling to to stop me being so negative about it all. Especially since it sucks away so much time, time I would much rather have at my disposal for written production work.

So far all I can get from the Italians, teachers and not, is that it is important because Italian grammar is so complicated. Full Stop. No extra added detials.

Well frankly I don't think Italian grammar is all that complicated compared to English, but by fuck this method sure as hell makes it feel like the most onerous language in the universe.

(and breathe)

There has to be some good that can come out of this, but I can't see the wood for the trees cos I'm getting all pissy about the amount of work and the time it takes to the detriment of other skills.

Anybody got something for me that will help me see the silver lining ?

midnightexpress Mon 18-Jul-11 10:47:42

Nope. Sounds a bit useless to me, although I suppoooooooose at a pinch that it might help with learning foreign languages in future? Certainly the foreign students I used to teach had a far better grasp of English grammar and its associated terminology than most British people. I think that the shorthand of grammar probably helps in the classroom. I guess.
And I agree, Italian grammar doesn't seem that complicated to me compared with German or Russian, let alone further-flung from English languages.

Tinuviel Mon 18-Jul-11 11:50:11

I only learned Italian for a short while but I teach French, German and Spanish to GCSE standard (and am currently helping DS1 get to GCSE level in Latin - we home educate). I didn't find Italian grammar that complicated. It sounds as if they have a very traditional way of teaching. I don't know if it would help but American resources often include teaching 'diagramming' which involves doing a diagram of a sentence showing how the words link together. We use it at home as part of our English and when the DCs are struggling with Latin sentences, I'll often get them to diagram the sentence before translating it and it helps. There is a pair of books called 'Better Sentence Structure Through Diagraming', which may help make things quicker.

fastweb Mon 18-Jul-11 12:21:53

The question all seems a bit academic now.

After months of checking he wanted to continue with home ed (with him looking askance that I had the never to even ask the question), the minute amazon UK puts my book order for next year in the mail, the little wotnot finally reveals that actually, he does want to go to middle school in September.

So I don't have to teacher GA and LA anymore, just be available for homework help.

I am delighted he has the open mind and courage to give "big school" a go, relieved that an enormous amount of pressure is now off me, and at the same time (think the other home edders will understand this) utterly gutted that home ed is over.

fastweb Mon 18-Jul-11 12:23:58

thanks to both of you for responding...

(sits in a dazed fashion and wonders what will to do with self now that yearned for free time yawns before me like a huge black hole of nothingness)

breadandbutterfly Mon 18-Jul-11 16:28:19

So why did you start home edding in the first place/

I can't begin to imagine such a thing!

fastweb Mon 18-Jul-11 18:11:25

So why did you start home edding in the first place

Because he was slipping behind at school.

Playing catch up (unsuccessfully) after wading through mountains of homework he did not have enough foundation knowledge to do within the usual time frames, meant there was no time at all left to keep him up to speed in English.

Everybody was frustrated, and I wasn't prepared to see my son written off academically at just 8 yo.

So we decided to HE.

He went from a near fail exiting school at the end of the third year to full marks at the end of 4th year (our first year of HE). So was all caught up.

We carried on this year and he seemed inclined to stay home edded, but has now changed his mind. Which is fair enough. Talking to him he has thought it through, taken on board both pros and cons and if he wants to re enter the school system again 1st year middle is probably the best time to do it.

I can't begin to imagine such a thing!

Oh. OK.

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