I teach reading and composition at Victor Valley College in Victorville, CA. Anyone who knows something about linguistics knows that I am no linguist and will not only make my own fair share of grammatical errors but will mix up certain concepts in grammar that have been long since settled. No matter.
I see the focus on correctness in grammar as being part of the problem with making students anxious and incompetent with grammar, but I also fail to see how linguistics and the more scientifically sound approach to language has done anything to correct this problem. Instead I would like to use this blog to advocate a teaching of grammar that is based on style.
Knowing grammar is about knowing the medium we use to communicate, and students have been cajoled into thinking they cannot understand grammar unless they know hundreds of little rules concerning word usage. I am trying to develop an approach that uses the choices we make in style to understand grammar as being not just based on words but also based in phrases and clauses. Moving the focus of grammar instruction to style and to larger units brings it closer to how people think and how they want to communicate.