Attitude : Teacher's Edition 3 by Tim Bowen

By Tim Bowen

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Experi­ment, evaluation, and statistical interpretation have become familiar devices to every curriculum specialist. It has usually been assumed that a major purpose of English instruction was to teach “good,” “error-­free” language. The success of grammar teaching could be measured against this. Grammar might be justified if it could help in preventing “errors” in writing, or if it could contribute in any other way to composing ability.  13) In addition to questions about effectiveness in reducing error, a study conducted by Hoyt in 1906 and replicated by Rapeer in 1913 questioned the place that formal grammar study occupied in the elementary school curriculum, mainly because of English Grammar in United States Schools 23 what was known about children’s psychological development.

1951). Secondary students were learning the principles of structural grammar from Paul Roberts’s Patterns of English (1956), based on the work of Fries. Clearly, the decade of the 1950s held promise as a watershed period, a turning point for the possibility of a reform grammar based on scientific understanding of language. The “long overdue revolution” that Professor Francis predicted in 1954 was on the move. However, within 10 years, it had virtually come to nought. The century’s brightest star in the field of linguistics, whose name is missing from the list of contributors to Allen’s collection, is, of course, Noam Chomsky.

A great deal of effort was made to establish composition as an important discipline in its own right, and the notion of correcting grammar or correcting texts as central activity had to be dismissed before a more professional ground could be established for the field. Murray collected thousands of comments by writers about the nature of their craft as a sort of informal research. This was followed up more systematically by writing researchers, like Janet Emig (1971), Sondra Perl (1979) and Nancy Sommers (1980, 1982), who focused attention on the contrasting composing processes of successful and inexperienced writers.

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