Monday, April 26, 2010

"We still believe in grammar" - Nietzsche

All things are subject to interpretation; whichever interpretation prevails at a given time is a function of power and not truth. Friedrich Nietzsche

And we should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once. And we should call every truth false which was not accompanied by at least one laugh. Friedrich Nietzsche

"I am afraid we cannot be rid of God because we still believe in grammar." Friedrich Nietzsche.

[Entering Neitzsche + God + grammar in google will bring up the variations of this quote and some excellent articles and discussion. Nietzsche had a real wit and sense of humour, I've discovered.]

I still believe in grammar. Those who fantasize that instructed second language acquisition can occur without understanding of the patterns [systematicity and variability] of a language do students a disservice. Krashen would have us believe it can all be implicit. Not in Australian classrooms, except perhaps some immersion programs. Grammar is a gift from our ancestors (a 'glamour') - their cognitive solutions for encoding reality - and in teaching, it should be made enthralling in its intricacy. Grammar explication and exercises should be only a part of a language program. There are drama approaches, story and song - all of them exist because based on grammar (and semantics, pragmatics and discourse rules etc) and all manner of literature and culture studies are possible. But I suppose everything depends on what goals and activities your context allows, what your teacher knowledge, experience and confidence equip you with and the disposition of students and the community who put values and borders in their minds. What do you think?

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