Teaching writing (was FWD: Illiterate America)

Subject: Teaching writing (was FWD: Illiterate America)
From: Kat Nagel/MasterWork <katnagel -at- EZNET -dot- NET>
Date: Mon, 4 Dec 1995 10:20:26 -0400

Arlen's description of his two daughters' experiences learning english
certainly hit home for me. I went through school in the 50s and 60s. Ours
was the first class to be taught to write without 'confining rules' and to
do math without 'mindless memorization.'

Fortunately, I had a mother who was a traditional-style math teacher, and
who had a reverence for language. She taught me my times-tables (it's a
great way to keep a squirmy 7-year-old occupied on long car trips!). She
also dug out -her- old high-school grammar books [(c) 1940]. I taught
myself to diagram sentences, and she proof-read all my homework until I
reached the 6th grade. No, she didn't -correct- it; she just marked
stuff she thought was wrong and let me figure out how to fix it.

By the time I got through high-school, I -loved- to write, while most of
my classmates dreaded it. There is so much less stress involved when you
are confident that you -know- how to do it right. You can concentrate on
the content, and not agonize over the structural details. And it's -lots-
of fun to explain to a teacher why --- in this particular situation ---
it's appropriate to bend or ignore the rules. :-)

If I ruled the universe, all first-grade teachers would start leading
grammar games. And by fourth grade, kids would be diagramming sentences as
though they were fitting jigsaw puzzles.

@Kat_____ Kat Nagel
MasterWork Consulting Services Rochester, NY
LIFE1 (techwriting/docdesign) katnagel -at- eznet -dot- net
LIFE2 (vocal chamber music) PlaynSong -at- aol -dot- com

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