Every teacher has heard the excuse and it gets louder with each year - “We don’t need grammar practice anymore, we have insert new technology that autocorrects all spelling and grammar issues in a flash.” Regardless of whatever technology students have available to them, understanding grammar and how to effectively apply it in writing is a critical skill to have under one’s belt. Let’s look at five reasons you can give your students the next time they question the importance of learning grammar.
Clarity and Accuracy
Whether you’re a middle school student or a famous celebrity, it’s important that you can convey your intentions clearly and accurately. It doesn’t matter whether you’re drafting an important email to your teacher or simply posting on social media, you definitely want to avoid the grammatical error that backfires. Save yourself the embarrassment of posting, “Let’s eat grandpa!” vs. “Let’s eat, grandpa!” Learn those commas!
The life of a student is all about forming habits and preparing oneself for the professional world. Yes, that world may seem like ages away for the middle schooler, but not so much for the high schooler. These students should be honing their professional toolboxes and practicing the use of proper grammar in emails, presentations, and college essays. Every forum in which writing is taking place, students should be actively using the grammatical protocols that each one demands. Details can make a difference, and students should understand that consistent and proper use of grammar can go a long way in their professional careers and beyond.
Not only does a clear understanding of grammar prepare students for success in the workplace, it also helps establish credibility in personal situations. When you communicate with proper grammar, you establish authority in the eyes of your readers or listeners, and it makes them more likely to trust and respect what you have to say. Whether you’re debating in front of the class or discussing an issue with your teacher, you’ve provided a more polished presentation that bolsters your credibility.
The English language is complicated and complex with hundreds of different grammatical rules and standards to remember and follow. Understanding these complexities and standardizations allows students to operate on a global scale. When learning another language, common grammatical labels and rules can provide a level playing ground that allows people from different regions and backgrounds to communicate effectively. Without an understanding of these standardizations, and without a strong working knowledge of grammar concepts (albeit sometimes different depending on the language), communication can become much more challenging. A solid grammatical background may just be the most important thing you pack on your study abroad adventures or international vacation!
Appreciation of Language
Who doesn’t have a favorite song? A favorite poem? A favorite book? Not only is it the writer’s use of storytelling to convey a message, it’s the writer’s use of language, and within that language resides some intentional use of grammar. Having an understanding and appreciation of grammar and its rules can help foster and engender one’s love for reading, writing, and speaking. Good writers use the tools of diction, syntax, tone, and punctuation intentionally. Simply equipping oneself with these tools makes experience even more enjoyable.
Effective writing skills are essential for students to excel in both their academic and professional lives. As middle school English/Language Arts teachers, you play a crucial role in shaping your students' writing abilities.
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