Is traditional sentence diagramming
helpful, or isn't it? Is there a place for memorization in the teaching
of grammar, or is memorization always useless? During the Great Grammar
Debates, which lasted almost thirty years, it was extremely difficult to
publish, and thus share, any ideas or opinions on questions such as these.
Many effective exercises have probably been lost, and there are many misconceptions,
and worries, about what teachers should or should not do. (Recently, for
example, a teacher meekly asked on the ATEG list if it is o.k. to teach
sentence diagramming.) Part Three therefore reviews some of the exercises,
methods, and techniques that teachers may want to use in any approach
to teaching grammar.
To keep the chapters relatively short, the exercises are divided into three categories. Chapter Seven discusses ways to help students recognize various basic constructions and concepts. As I have suggested in the previous parts of this book, students have not been able to apply traditional instruction effectively because the constructions that are taught are not expanded to match the complexity of the students own writing. Chapter Eight, therefore, examines ways to expand students' concepts of basic constructions. Chapter Nine explores ways to connect instruction in grammar with the students' writing, thinking, and style.
This review is, for reasons noted above, incomplete. Many teachers are doing interesting and effective things that I do not know about. Throughout this section, I indicate as sources many people who are not represented in the bibliography. All such references are to personal correspondence, usually over the internet. I am hoping that, as more teachers realize that theory and research support the teaching of grammar, they will contribute additional suggestions for the Instructional Matrices on the KISS web site.