10-second review: Reviews the issues in teaching or not teaching grammar for the purpose of improving writing. And he remains ambivalent.
Title: “Our Ambivalence Toward Teaching Grammar.” Bill Gribbin. English Journal (January 2005), 17-19. A publication of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).
Summary: When the author was student teaching, his cooperating teacher assigned him to teach a unit on verbals. He was afraid to admit that he did not know grammar. And he wondered why.
The two sides of the issue? The professional organization of English teachers (NCTE) does not believe in teaching grammar in isolation. [The organization goes further: It does not believe teaching grammar has any value in improving writing. RayS.]
However, normal, ordinary people believe that you can’t write if you don’t know your grammar. “How is it, then, that the general public still believes that grammar is a necessary component of the English curriculum…. It is un-American to believe that grammar instruction will not result in great improvement in students’ writing. You and I have met many well-intentioned grammar devotees who testified that when they learned grammar they learned to write.”
Comment: The purpose of grammar instruction in writing is to polish writing. Teach writing while teaching grammar. They are not the same thing. Focus on grammatical problems that will predictably appear in students’ compositions. RayS.