kitchen table math, the sequel: Advanced Placement & TAKS

Friday, May 30, 2008

Advanced Placement & TAKS

starsfan0271 wrote:

7th grade English teacher here:

Please let's go back to basics. Our kids need to learn that having poor grammar and typos may be ok for texting, or even commenting on boards, but it's not gonna cut it when trying to express yourself to a wider audience.

Advanced Placement tests for Language require knowledge of the parts of speech--by not explicitly teaching them, we are already hurting our kids chances of earning AP credit and doing well in Freshman comp in college.

5/23/2008 2:46 PM CDT


Anonymous said...

I know in my AP English classes, which were rigorous and did a great job teaching us to analyze and write about literature, we were told to simply not bother analyzing syntax in our essays, but to just pick other categories to write about. Why? Because our grammar knowledge was so deficient (8 parts of speech only) that there was no possible way we could do it, and there was no time to remediate us.

Katharine Beals said...

I've never seen much discussion of syntax in literary analysis--and, in particular, of parts of speech. It seems to me that the most relevant issues are larger scale syntactic issues, like parallel structures, (dangling) modifiers, and paratactic vs. subordinate structures, and how they figure in the pragmatics of communication. For these, you don't need to know much about parts of speech; instead, you need to know structure. Here the traditional sentence diagramming exercises can help, but much more useful are the linguists' syntactic tree structures (c.f., e.g., McCawley's Syntactic Phenomena of English). Which, to my knowledge, no grade school anywhere has ever taught anyone!