Sunday, August 31, 2014

Watching Squirrels Stashing Nuts In Preparation of Fall, I Thought, Time to Stash Two Items Here

I have been working frantically to submit a chapter on teaching writing in secondary schools for a book to be used in introductory classes. It is a task to go from deep, detailed research to an overview of the language used by writing teachers. I opted to frame the chapter through language of assessing writing and ways to think of a classroom as a writing activity system. When I got to the Language Conventions part, I froze. I had grammar for one year. Even though I've studied grammar books obnoxiously to learn what was never taught to me, I still cringe when thinking about teaching it. I am definitely more Alfred Doolittle than Henry Higgins. In my paranoia, I discovered Stephen Fry (2012) and his rant about grammar nazis. I found his prose delightful.

I also remembered that I wanted to bring in Trenite's "The Chaos" - a poem:
the phonetic labyrinth / gives moss, gross, brook, brooch, ninth, plinth,                       
billet does not end like ballet; / Bouquet, wallet, mallet, chalet;                                               
Blood and flood are not like food / Nor is mould like should and would.
In short, English is a complicated language where rules are always changing as more and more cultures exchange their ways of knowing with the traditions once used to punish those who didn't quite speak as a Queen. I am with Fry. I love language and learning the intricate ways of discussing the rules and formalities destroys the passion that has been good to me.

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