Anyways. Today I've been reading about holistic language instruction for myApproaches to Grammar summer class with Donald Wolff. The concept, as applied to grammatical pedagogy, essentially assumes that grammar and language are best taught as process-centered rather than product-centered. Essentially, writing is about writing rather than the final piece. Grammar will be self-developed in the process of actually writing. And they're right! What better way to get kids to write good than to entice them to actually enjoy the process of writing?? Good stuff!
However, today, sitting the cool, chill lounge of the Multicultural lab (in which the only patron is a pasty white-boy from Alaska wearing an unkempt beard and hair that rivals John the Baptist's) I go to look at my grades for some previous assignments in the class and I got a 16/20 on my last assignment. A 16/20!!! That's a B! I don't like B's (yes, I know, my poor-little-piquosita, or something like that, as Stephanie Whisenhant used to tell me). I'm one term from graduating Magna Cum Lade and I'd like to do it!
Actually, it's not the grade I'm disappointed with. It's the reason for points being docked. Anyone who has ever taken a class with Wolff knows he's a more meticulous judge of work than Allah, and that's saying something (congrats Wolff, you beat out an entity not even in your ontology). What were my points docked for? Commas! Syntax errors! Wrong technique in my citations (which I usedNOODLEBIB FOR , FOR CRYING OUT LOUD, SO THEY SHOULD BE CORRECT!!! ).
Why can't I write a paper and be graded on my content rather than my stupid grammar, which, out of 500+ words, there were only 2 or 3, in Wolff-world, constitutes a B grade. I spend an entire day reading about how grammar instruction should be holistic, focused on the writing process rather than the product, affirming grammar as self-developmental, then every point I loose is because of syntax, not content. Oie.
Alright, enough hypocritical ranting. The content we're learning about is actually quite interesting. Researchers are more and more coming to the conclusion that grammar shouldn't be taught as a system; rather, it should be taught in the context of actually writing relevant and personally interesting content because grammar develops on its own regardless of mindless syntax exercises. Old people reading this: did you write things like, I'm a good writer, I'm a good writer across your page a billion times when you were in school to teach you correct syntax? To you who were subjected to this method, taken directly from the pedagogy bookTeaching Grammar in Satan's Seventh Circle of Hell, I'm so sorry it took us this long to figure this out.
Now, grammar can still be taught; however, it's taught rather instance-by-instance, student-by-student. When a student struggles with commas, the professor identifies the issue and works with them on commas. When a student struggles with subject-verb-predicate, the professor identifies the issue and works with them on subject-verb-predicat syntax. It's not taught as a separate system or class any more, or, at least, it shouldn't be. Most grammatical systems develop on their own in the student through observation of auditory language then development and falsification of things called syntax hypotheses: guesses children make and test about the language they're assimilating from the culture around them is written. Parents, how do children learn their first words? Do you sit there, point to a ball and say ball over and over again? No, you just say ball a bunch of times in the context of playing bounce with them and then the kid figures out that's what the thing is called, and stars calling it a friggn ball.
And the interesting thing. This concept can be assigned to theological mentorship as well. How many mentors try to inoculate their young theologings with what they believe to be 'the right system of doctrine' or 'the correct way to achieve theistic enlightenment'? Then, if their friends stray even one iota from their prescribed path, they freak out and call up the theological inquisition. Traditional grammar pedagogy right there. My mom was smacked on the hand at Catholic school for writing with her left hand. I love Catholics, but haven't they ever read 1 Chronicles 12 about David's mighty men who were all left-handed?
More and more, with the people I mentor and those I have spiritual conversations with, I realize it's not my position to sit them down and force them to write God is omnipotent, God is omnipotent, God is omnipotent on their notebook paper over and over again. Rather, it's my job to give them space to engage God, to seek Him (and encourage them to enjoy doing so!), to come up with their owntheological hypotheses and when I notice a particular one I believe incorrect or erroneous to engage them on it and let my solution percolate in their minds so they can adopt it into their system if they find it accurate. My position in peoples theological development is to encourage them to seek God and learn about Him experientially, allowing theological development to happen outside of my expectations of them, influencing them when I think they err, but foremost encouraging their enjoyment of the process, not the destination. The most important thing is for them to learn to love seeking God. That's what my mom did with me. Correct theology, if there is such a thing, will inevitably follow if they surround themselves with good mentors who will help them when the need it most, not dog them when they answer incorrectly to the question of how many angels can dance on the head of a needle. Seriously. The scholastic theologians argued about crap like that. They were worse than congress, and that's saying something.
Enough of that. The last thing I'll write is about David. Freaking David! Have you ever read David? He's the most bipolar individual I know, that you know too! Yet, he's smarter than an acorn sitting on a mushroom, I'll give him that. I've been really convicted by his concept of 'waiting on the Lord' of late. And that's all I'll say about it. Because I'm tired and want to walk home, read a bit more grammar, get naked, get under my covers and listen to the Oregon barn owl who asks me every night who I am . I keep asking him if he'll take a rain check.
And yes, I sleep in the nude. No compromises.