So you think grammar don’t matter?

By Lisa A. Mazzie, J.D. — Educators are on the front lines of any discussion on grammar.

Those who teach students of any age are assumed to bear some responsibility for making sure those students learn and use proper grammar.  Too often, I fear, at some point in many children’s primary and secondary education, a teacher at some point said, “He was supposed to have learned that before now; it’s not my job to teach him.”

Consequently, I see students in law school (a graduate-level education in the United States), who even after “successful” educational experiences at the secondary and undergraduate levels, show up in my classroom with some basic deficiencies in grammar.  Like the student who said to me, “When you talk about nouns and verbs, I don’t know what you mean.”  And the far too many students who throw apostrophes rather willy-nilly into words that end in “s” because those students are not exactly sure whether and where an apostrophe belongs.

As one of my recent posts on the Marquette University Law School blog notes, grammar does matter.  And increasingly so in a world where most of the younger generation communicates solely by email, text, and social media.

But not only are educators responsible for teaching grammar to students, educators are responsible for modeling proper usage for students.  And that modeling may be most important of all.  Too frequently, we as educators (and as parents) adopt the “do as I say, not as I do” attitude of educating.  Even the youngest of children pick up on the hypocrisy of that method.

But more than that, for educators it is a question of legitimacy.  How can one claim to be someone from whom students should learn if that person cannot show her knowledge worth learning?

To read the entire post, click here.

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