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For those who say that children don't learn grammar any more.....

(103 Posts)
Mamie Mon 25-Jan-16 06:41:01

Here is a short sample from the spelling and grammar test that eleven-year-olds will take this year.
How did you do?

Anya Mon 25-Jan-16 07:32:09

Don't learn grammar any more? Surely no one thinks that.

Imperfect27 Mon 25-Jan-16 07:33:19

As a primary school teacher, I give a 20 minute grammar lesson everyday. This is separate / in addition to reading and writing.
The end of year Grammar, spelling and Punctuation Sats test (see link above) has been in place for a couple of years now. The government hasn't quite worked out the benchmark (nationally agreed score) for measuring success for this test, but it is to be given equal status with Maths, Writing and Reading.

The grammar gap was apparent in my own generation. I was educated in the late 60s-70s, but never taught grammar at primary school! I then attended a grammar school where it was assumed that it had been taught already!

The children I now teach know a lot more than I did at their age.

Mamie Mon 25-Jan-16 07:52:28

I know they do! Like you Anya I did all the NLS development and implementation. I gather that the SPAG test has changed again this year.
However, it is very common to read posts on here and elsewhere from people who think that primary schools don't teach grammar, so I thought this would be of interest....

Badenkate Mon 25-Jan-16 08:26:36

Well, I got 9 out of 10 on the quiz, but that was because I taught English while we were living in Switzerland and learnt grammar on the job. It certainly was a help learning German, and actually, as a scientist, I found it interesting looking at it as a logical problem.

joannapiano Mon 25-Jan-16 08:31:29

I was a primary teacher for 20 years, and I couldn't help our 9 year old DGS with his homework last week- underline the adverbial (??) in these sentences.
His Dad Googled what this was, and helped him, when he got home.
My DD, who teaches a Year 1 class, says they are doing nouns, verbs, adverbs at the moment.She says the English curriculum is very difficult, now.

Anya Mon 25-Jan-16 08:53:51

Mamie it's not just misinformation about grammar either, is it? And everyone is an expert in teaching because they've been to school themselves grin - not talking about GN but the public at large.

annodomini Mon 25-Jan-16 09:50:14

The vocabulary has changed so much that when I tried it I only got 8/10. Mind you, it's a long time since I taught grammar and even longer since I learnt it. I now have great respect for my GC who took SATS in the last two years.

Alea Mon 25-Jan-16 09:55:21

Echoing what anno says, things weren't called "determiners" in my day.
And I did have some ferocious English teachers who were very strict on grammar. shock

Greyduster Mon 25-Jan-16 09:55:30

I daren't tell you how many i got! I was shocked. I've always prided myself on the fact that i knew my pronouns from my prepositions, but i had to look up some of the terms. I'd never heard of a 'determiner' or a 'modal' something or other. In the corner with the pointy hat on, then!

Nonnie Mon 25-Jan-16 10:00:40

I recently had a lecture from a 5 year old on nouns, verbs, adjectives and he knew what he was talking about.

Luckygirl Mon 25-Jan-16 10:03:01

Me too - I did not even know what a modal verb was, and as for a determiner. Let us hope that this knowledge will be useful to them in their later lives!

trisher Mon 25-Jan-16 10:12:00

Oh I know they learn grammar. The problem is there are children being taught words like "adverbial, preposition and conjunction" who are still struggling to read fluently. But the NLS insists they must be and schools and teachers must comply and stick to this. Whatever happened to child centred education?

Coolgran65 Mon 25-Jan-16 10:28:25

I left school at 17. English would not have been a strong subject whereas I excelled and was top of the class in shorthand, typing, maths. In my working life I was a medical Secretary for 15 years and a legal Secretary for nearly 35 years.

My great pride was that I was really good at letter formation and grammar, could compose a great letter for any situation. Other staff would come to me for help... ""how should I say this? "" My spelling was/is superb.

One of my favourite pastimes is cryptic crosswords.

But at school and to the present I never could get to grips with all the grammatical clauses etc. I just "knew" what was correct in the written word.

Embarrassed to say that in the test I got 4/10.

annodomini Mon 25-Jan-16 10:46:47

I wonder how Mr Gove and his successor Ms Morgan would fare if faced with this test. hmm

Elrel Mon 25-Jan-16 11:06:52

Trisher - absolutely! who dreams up the jargon and inflicts it on pupils and, for that matter, upon teachers?
Luckygirl - we seem, with millions of others to have coped so far without knowing!

grumppa Mon 25-Jan-16 11:08:44

90%, let down by never having heard of "determiners".

Greyduster Mon 25-Jan-16 11:10:41

Oh, thank God! I could have written your post, Coolgran! I didn't think anyone else would get 4/10! I feel better now. English was my best subject at school, and i was good at grammar - or i thought i was!!

Elrel Mon 25-Jan-16 11:12:32

There was I thinking that English was about reading books for enjoyment and information and being able to communicate appropriately in both speech and in writing.*
Now it seems to be about dissection of sentences.

* I won't even begin to list the advantages of drama, debating and the unlimited other ways of exploring and using language.

Elegran Mon 25-Jan-16 11:21:31

I was let down by the termination too. It seems all to have changed since my day. The way the words and phrases are used are the same, though.

joannapiano I thought the word "adverbial" was an adjective. How can you have "an adverbial" ? Was it an adverbial something-or-other? Or have they changed the meaning of another word?

Elegran Mon 25-Jan-16 11:30:09

Knowing how the words in a sentence affect one another means you know how to construct a sentence. Hearing speech used properly lets that sink in gradually and naturally, but learning it formally does underline how to get the most meaning out of text.

It can be very difficult to explain to someone that what you meant is not what they thought you meant, when they have had no experience of untangling "if" clauses and working out just what a dependent clause or phrase refers to. Some debates on Gransnet almost come to blows because of this.

Indinana Mon 25-Jan-16 11:32:01

My great pride was that I was really good at letter formation and grammar, could compose a great letter for any situation. Other staff would come to me for help... ""how should I say this? "" My spelling was/is superb.

This was me throughout my working life, Coolgran! I was called on by all and sundry to compose and proof-read. Even our Marketing Director passed press releases and articles for publication to me for proof-reading. However, I have never come across the terms 'determiner' or 'modal verb'.
I have never doubted that children are taught grammar, but I can't help wondering if the focus is on teaching them how to pass the SATs rather than on putting the learning to use in everyday reading and composition.

Elegran Mon 25-Jan-16 11:36:48

They may have had different names when we wuz young, indinana.

i suppose the "determiner" may have been a modifier? As for the "modal verb" ? Dunno.

Elegran Mon 25-Jan-16 11:40:10

In that test, they had "the" down as a determiner as well as the more obvious adjectives and prepositions, so I suppose anything that distinguishes one thing from something else is a determiner.

joannapiano Mon 25-Jan-16 11:49:41

Elegran, that was what flummoxed me- it just said 'underline the adverbial'. DGS said he had forgotten how his teacher had explained it.
I could have found the adverb, but the first answer was 'in the garden' at the end of the sentence.