Less Grammar, More Play

Matt Jones points us to this column by Philip Pullman in The Guardian, where he argues teachers place too much emphasis on grammar, not enough on writing itself.

What does work, the York
study maintains, is writing in a meaningful context: writing as a
practical hands-on craft activity. One of the implications of this is
that teachers have to be confident about writing – about play, about
delight. Too many are not, because they haven’t had to be; and the
result is the dismal misery of the "creative writing" drills tested in
the Sats, where children are instructed to plan, draft, edit, revise,
rewrite, always in the same order, always in the same proportions,
always in the same way. If teachers knew something about the joy of
fooling about with words, their pupils would write with much greater
fluency and effectiveness. Teachers and pupils alike would see that the
only reason for writing is to produce something true and beautiful;
that they were on the same side, with the teacher as mentor, as editor,
not as instructor and measurer, critic and judge.


One response to “Less Grammar, More Play

  1. Wayne… you are making the gross assumption that all teachers know how to write. =)

    Before we can teach students, we need to effectively teach the teachers, and therein lies the root of the problem (i.e. America’s educational system).

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