The English Department is focusing on creating a more comprehensive grammar education at Marlborough, which will involve teaching and re-introducing grammar-related concepts across multiple grades. To develop strategies and a plan for building this curriculum, the department is holding a professional development day on grammar instruction with a speaker from the Center for the Professional Education of Teachers, Teachers College, Columbia University.
“The [English] department set out a couple of goals to work on this school year, and one of our goals was to think about how we have been teaching grammar and wonder about whether there are ways to innovate and do new things in the classroom in respect to teaching grammar,” English Department Head David Long said.
The department hopes to teach grammar in a way that emphasizes repetition to encourage a continued understanding of grammar-related concepts.
“We are hoping that our professional growth day will give us some new tools for teaching grammar in a way that is not just rote or that encourages memorization, and in a way that is also tied effectively to the writing that students are doing in the classroom,” Long said.
The shift towards a heavier focus on grammar has been encouraged by teachers who have noticed that students could benefit from a more robust grammar education in earlier grades.
“Teachers new to the 9th grade wish that there was more of a foundation for talking about grammatical terms that was set in earlier grades like 7th and 8th, so our interest is in thinking about, are there some core principles that students would benefit from learning?” Long said.
This focus comes in part as a way to re-establish educational programs that were de-prioritized because of the pandemic, as prior to COVID, students learned grammar in the 7th, 8th and 9th grades. Currently, grammar is only taught in depth to students in 9th and 10th grade.
“Prior to the pandemic, we used to have class-wide grammar instruction in 8th grade, and that is one of the things that got shoved in the pandemic … but now we are thinking about in what ways can we kind of create this timeline of learning grammar so we clearly move it forward in each grade?” Long said.
Along with faculty, many students have expressed support for more rigorous grammar education.
“I think including grammar into the curriculum more would be beneficial to students as they will become more proficient writers,” Lily ‘23 said.
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