I am sending him for grammar classes… You know uska grammar bahot weak hai.
Ma’am, he needs to pay attention to grammar. He does not understand tenses
Hello and welcome to Musings of a MasterNi, I am Minal Desai and here I share with you a medley of my unique experiences shaped by students teachers and life in general.
So, recently I came across a parent who was talking to a teacher. The parent was concerned that the child’s grammar was not in place and grammar is supposedly the base of any language. I was very intrigued by it because I wonder is grammar really the base of everything, of a language?
Look back at your mother tongue, did you learn the grammar of your mother tongue first?
Hu Gujrati chhu, hu Gujarati nu grammar pehla noti shikhi
I don’t think any child ever learns a language, at least the mother tongue, in terms of grammar first and then the language. It just doesn’t come that way, right?
A language is learned first by listening to it for years together, then starting to speak in broken sentences, in simple words and then writing. But somehow we schools tend to do complete Ulta. We start with the writing first, then expect the child to like language. But that apart from coming back to the grammar part of it.
What does grammar do today and why are we so obsessed with it? You know there was a time when grammar used to form about 25-30% of the paper and there were actually board marks and papers where you had to actually answer change the tenses or do as directed and all that.
But I really request you to look at the papers today. If you are in an international board I am sure you have realised that grammar is not asked in the do as directed format, but please check grammar in terms of CBSE papers as well. Even the boards have realised that we need to move beyond that.
Language is the use of words to express yourself, to communicate, grammar is just the means to that. Even the CBSE paper has some 30% for grammar and writing and actual grammar is hardly 5-8 marks, which is also something that the child will be able to understand very clearly if the child has taken the pains of really reading enough.
Grammar is a structure that helps the language. A child cannot learn the language through the means of the grammar. For any language to be acquired there has to be an ecosystem and fluency has to come before perfection. Language is not maths. First, you have to acquire fluency, sahi or galat, start blabbering the words and when you do that, that is when lowly, steadily you understand the nuances of grammar and if you choose to write in that language as an author, writer or to communicate formally in that language, you need to understand grammar of the language.
So what do we as parents/teachers do? Do we not focus on grammar? We don’t look at it? I don’t say we don’t look at it but I think reading and reading storybooks and immersing in that language is a far more rewarding experience than to find the subordinate and main clause and trying to change the tense from one thing to another. Do we schools still do that? Yes, we do.
We are great dinosaurs who refuse to believe that things have moved on. But, that said we also realise that children need to write better-using grammar. Let us look at grammar as a means to an end rather than the end.
So what has been your experience with grammar? What kind of books did you use? Were you a part of the Wren and Martin genre where you were expected to write everything in that sense? Or Did grammar come naturally to you? How was your schooling and what is your take on grammar? Would love to know more about this and lastly, don’t forget to subscribe to Musings Of A MasterNi on Youtube and Instagram.