Within education there are always questions about what we teach. Why learn Latin? It’s a dead language… When was the last time you used quadratics in everyday life? Why try to grasp
C6H12O6 + 6O2 —–> 6H20 + 6C20 + energy? What on earth is a binomial equation? And why Grammar?
Last term we all enjoyed the recitation competition. The children learned poems, prose, monologues and wrestled to understand the words, engaged with the emotional nuances and performed the poem on stage. They learned that grammar, form and expression are important. The audible message and the performance generate the cerebral picture. This term Ardvreck has just launched its annual poetry competition, the children will write their own poems. Using structure, form and engaging language, grammar will be the back bone of the poem’s success.
Communication throughout the world is changing. Language is changing. The mobile phone is becoming the ‘interface’ of choice for many people – just look around a restaurant, pub or café – many people will be sitting with each other but concentrating on their phones. The new language of text speak is becoming accepted and new words are entering the dictionary. Texts have their own language and structure but probably do not record the same detail, emotion and expression of our complete English lexicon.
The foundation of our language is grammar. In the words of Wittgenstein, ‘Like everything metaphysical the harmony between thought and reality is to be found in the grammar of the language.’ Or far more simply stated by William Langland ‘Grammar, the ground of all.’ As courtesy and manners underpin our behaviour then grammar is the foundation of the way we utilise our language. Grammar underpins the structure of communication.
Education is about communication – not only what the teachers impart, but also the way in which teachers interact with the children. Watching and listening as they communicate with each other, in words or gestures, and expressing themselves through language, art, music or sport. The voice of the child can be heard in many forms. Grammar is the cornerstone of the use of language in verbal and written form.
Why grammar? Grammar may be perceived as boring and inaccessible, yet it is the structure that enables individual words to become sentences, phrases, paragraphs … the words are given life, become meaningful and enrich our lives.