Honors Program Theses


Open Access Honors Program Thesis


English language--Grammar--Study and teaching;


The debate about the effectiveness of traditional grammar instruction has been ongoing for many decades now. Traditional grammar instruction involves memorization of grammatical rules and practice exercise drills. As early as 1936, the Curriculum Commission of the National Council of Teachers of English stated that “‘all teaching of grammar separate from the manipulation of sentences [should] be discontinued…since every scientific attempt to prove that knowledge of grammar is useful has failed’” (Weaver, Teaching 9). So why is grammar still being taught in the same way-through traditional direct instruction-in many schools? It is because some parents, administrators, politicians, researchers, and teachers wholeheartedly believe that students will learn grammar best through direct instruction, lectures, textbooks, and worksheets of practice exercises, with grammar totally removed from a relevant context. Conversely, other researchers and teachers believe that students learn grammar best by situating grammar instruction in the context of reading and writing, and these researchers and teachers have controlled studies and a body of literature on their side. Immersing students in authentic reading and writing activities, using mini-lessons to teach grammatical concepts, and showing applied grammatical concepts in real life leads to better student writing. Teachers must also focus on the individual writing needs of their students and stop seeing grammar instruction as a hunt for errors. Many prominent teachers in the field of English have designed effective lesson plans that teach grammar in this way. Students will be more motivated to write and will become better writers if grammar is taught in an incorporated setting.

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University Honors Designation

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the designation University Honors

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