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On Thu, 3 Dec 1998, DonGarnett wrote:

> Remember, the way we talk is not natural, it is habitual.  We learned to
> talk by imitating other people.

        While the above comment was made with regard to vocal instruction, it
can be applied to writing instruction, as well.  I still find it hard to fall
into step with folks who believe that we can allow our children to write
as they please without correcting spelling, etc.  The "just get your ideas
down on paper, honey; you'll learn to spell when you feel like it"
mentality was foreign to me when it was presented as Summerhillian and
even more so now as whole language.

        Communication theory was developed in order to focus us on what is
essential for good commuications in a technological arena.  There we learn
that communication is language, in what ever form or format, precision
usage of that language (them ol' syntax and semantics rear their ugly
heads) and redundancy to avoid confusion from the noise that surrounds us
(in writing this can be seen as the appropriate use of examples or more
fully developed ideas).  In other words, "Precision in language is
essential."

        Since a child's brain is plastic and allows for a very broad scope
of development in language (other area's, too, but off topic), that is the
time to impress upon them syntax and semantics...  er... grammar.  But in
today's world, that seems to be too hard on our little darlings as is
homework and meaningful studies in all too many other content areas
(geography comes to mind-- "You mean New Jersey is a state?").  Folks then
wonder why we graduate half of our studens from high school with an
astounding lack of knowledge and the inability to "cipher" and spell.

        Ah well, it does seem to ensure our positions as developmental
educators

//////////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
Jim Valkenburg    [log in to unmask]
Delta College
University Center, MI 48710-0002
(517) 686-9034  FAX (517) 686-8736