reThink ELA #009: Teaching Grammar In Context

reThink ELA Podcast
reThink ELA Podcast
reThink ELA #009: Teaching Grammar In Context

Have you ever thought back to when you were in school and how you learned the rules of grammar and how to write? What techniques did your teachers use? Do you find that you’re implementing those exact same rules in your own classroom today?

Some things bear updating and the ways in which we teach grammar rules is one of those things that seems to be stuck in the dark ages. What are students really learning from worksheets? Do the lessons really stick if they don’t actually put them into practice with daily writing exercises?

My guest today is Jennifer Williams, who is a previous guest and also an ELA teacher here in Oklahoma. Today we’re discussing how we as teachers need to modernize our ways of teaching grammar to our students. Teachers and students alike need to change their mindset about grammar and we have some tips for starting that shift change in your classrooms.

Some of the topics we touch upon include:

  • kids today are writing for compliance and grades instead of finding their true voice
  • grammar rules are too rigid
  • let’s give grammar “skills” and “tools” to kids instead of “rules” that shouldn’t be broken
  • let’s empower students with their writing and grammar
  • teach that context and audience matter when it comes to choosing the language of your writing

Resources mentioned in today’s episode:

About the author 

Michelle Boyd Waters, M.Ed.

I am a secondary English Language Arts teacher, a University of Oklahoma student working on my doctorate in Instructional Leadership and Academic Curriculum with an concentration in English Education and co-Editor of the Oklahoma English Journal. I am constantly seeking ways to amplify students' voices and choices.

  1. This is very good of you! and if i may ask, would i be given certificate on the lessons i would learn?

  2. Oh, ladies. This episode is outstanding. I found myself nodding to almost everything you said- like a gospel that connected to my soul. Jennifer- I feel the same about how I learned grammar. I don’t remember actually learning it, but I know how to use it and recognize when something is amiss. I, however, cannot figure out how to teach it to my students. When reThinkELA began talking about grammar in context, my mindset began to change. I was suddenly aware of new possibilities, things that never occurred to me on the surface, but I think existed somewhere in my innate understanding of things. The previous discussions,this episode, and the thought of your upcoming unit have me totally excited to teach grammar to high school kids! (That is a sentence I NEVER thought I would say). Thank you both!

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