I just finished reading an article with the title “The Wrong Way to Teach Grammar“. I agree with what the author said, students learn more from simply writing and reading.
My eldest son is already 8 years old and he is supposed to be a second grader. I have not really spend time teaching him how to read and write yet, hence I am searching online for how Waldorf schools teach the students to read and write, then I came across this article.
I agree that we need to teach the kids how to write grammatically by letting them write, instead of just giving them the traditional grammar lessons. I do not know how native English speakers learn English or grammar, but as English is my second language, I was struggling in learning English when I was in school. I like English since I was young, and I think this is because I went to a kindergarten where encouraged the children to read and the teachers told us stories, instead of we just sat down there and listened to the lessons. It was an English speaking kindergarten where everyone has to speak English there, and the teachers were friendly. I guess that is why I like English.
When I was in primary school, we started to have English lessons by having grammar lessons and memorizing the vocabularies, but not by reading and writing. So, I was one of the people that the author mentioned that kept thinking of whether the sentence is grammatically correct, instead of enjoyed writing or expressing myself. As I did not get to read more English books or articles, I merely remembered the grammar lessons I learned and the limited vocabularies I could remember to write any essays. The worse is, I actually translated it from my native language in my mind and wrote down on paper in English. I always wanted to improve my English when I was in high school, and I just kept memorizing the vocabularies and reminding myself about the grammar. That was the way what I knew about learning English.
Until I went to college and met some English speaking friends, they told me how they learned English was via reading, reading and reading. They did not even know about grammar, what noun or verb is, but they could just write a beautiful article in no time and give a wonderful speech with confidence. Then I realized how I learned my native language, Chinese. I did not really learn how to write, but I just wrote. I did not care whether my grammar was correct and I did not memorize the vocabularies too. I just read many Chinese books, and always converse in Chinese, and that is why I can write and speak. It is habit of reading and listening, and just keep writing and speaking.
I started not to translate my sentence from Chinese to English when I learned to go online, chatted more with others in English and read more English articles. The more I read, the more I write, the more I listen, I do not even remember since when I can just write in English, without translating from Chinese. Though there are still a lot for me to learn and improve, I am happy I can at least just write and express myself, without keep worrying about the grammars and vocabularies.
This is also what I want to teach my kids – not to learn the grammar, not to memorize the vocabularies, but to enjoy reading and writing.
How did you start learning English? What do you suggest kids in learning how to write?
Image credit: Pixabay