English classes should focus more on mechanics

In September, Schreiber’s incoming freshmen will start a new exciting, four-year journey: high school. Along this journey, they will engage in many lessons in mathematics and history, and perhaps even discover more about who they are as a person. However, many Schreiber students will graduate without a proper education in grammar.

While everyone loves to hate grammar, it is undoubtedly one of the most useful skills a person can develop for high school and beyond. In terms of the “real world,” having proper grammar skills is important when communicating with others, especially in situations like during job interviews or conferences, and when drafting important emails. Without possessing an advanced means to communicate, it is much harder for an individual to convince a potential employer that he/she is capable of taking on a certain job position.

In high school, having a solid grammar foundation can help students improve their grades in certain subjects. Aside from English class, grammar can prove itself to be extremely useful when learning a foreign language thanks to the verb tenses.

While every language has its own way of forming different tenses, these tenses serve the same purpose in every language. It would be much easier for students to understand when or how to use the subjunctive tense in French, for example, if they were familiar with how to use that same tense in English. Right now, foreign language teachers often are forced to carry the burden, and teach basic mechanics to their students.

By strengthening students’ knowledge of grammar in English, they will be more prepared for challenging grammar lessons in their foreign language classes.

Moreover, developing solid grammar skills earlier on in high school can save students lots of time and stress when preparing for standardized college admissions tests, such as the SAT or ACT. Both of these tests have a section that focuses specifically on grammar, and it would be much easier for students to earn high scores on this section if they were taught basic grammar rules earlier in their high school careers.

It is for these reasons that the ThSchreiber Times believes that it is vital for students to be explicitly exposed to grammar rules early on in their high school career. One possible way to teach Schreiber students appropriate usage of grammar to younger students is through their English classes during freshman year. Freshman English is split into two courses, each one being semester long, so one of these semesters could be used to focus solely on teaching students proper grammar skills.

Another option would be to require each freshman English class to complete a pre-organized grammar unit, where students would learn the basics of punctuation, capitalization, and verb tenses.

At Schreiber, many feel as though they are never distinctly taught grammar skills in their classes and are instead simply expected to be familiar with them already.

Thus, students are only really exposed to their mistakes regarding grammar when they are graded on writing assignments. Unfortunately, even then, many prefer to consider such errors briefly in a quick glance at their teacher’s corrections, and this is usually not accompanied by any further growth.

If Schreiber were to implement a stronger grammar education curriculum, students would enter the rest of their high school careers with a stronger foundation in their ability to read and write. This would have a tremendous impact on Schreiber’s students, as they would be able to construct better essays, understand their foreign languages on a more advanced level, score higher on standardized tests, and communicate with others more effectively.