How to Teach Grammar and Life Skills
Educators do not always agree on skills that are important for students to know; many school systems remain within the traditional school setting governed by school districts, whereby the curricular departments focus on core subject areas of language, math, science, and history. If studying an elective, some students may participate in band, drama, and art programs. A few other electives exist; however, none of the electives offer students awareness of etiquette nor of basic life skills and how skills may help them in real life. The learning program of these schools’ centers on the basics and not on the concentration of developing students’ brains to help students make informed choices about life.
Brain facts: You may not know much about how the brain works but you might agree that the brain is adaptable. According to Jensen (2001), the brain changes constantly and maintains integration by allowing structures compete and cooperate; the brain is a cauldron of changing chemicals, electrical activity, cell growth, cell death, connectivity, and change. The brain is sophisticated and highly complex. The brain is dynamic and opportunistic and is pattern-forming; the brain is a self-organized system of systems (Jensen). If the brain is to this extent changeable, cannot educators change the mindsets of students to help them take a moral responsibility to become their better selves?
This question is important because it reinforces the message that research conveys every person has the capacity for change. Even the most frustrating individual can improve. A brain-based approach focuses on critical thinking skills, strategic decision making, and emotional intelligence–a facet about life that people are emotionally influenced by significant variables–all of which are entities of life students need to understand.
Research supports the value of engaging appropriate emotions, which are integral and invaluable to students. People need to be taught emotional intelligence skills in a repetitive way that makes positive behaviors as automatic as negative ones (Jensen). Students, for example, meet threats: fear of embarrassment, fear of failing in front of their peers, fear of getting bullied. Their brains have adapted to treat these emotional, psychological, and physical threats as if they are life-threatening (The Brain Mind: Eric Jensen, 2005).
The matter that supports the brain to transform basic school learning into important life skills is an all-purpose knowledge kit. According to Hirsch (2006), the idea that a skill set of knowledge is largely of a general-purpose that can be applied to any and all texts. Yet it is the main barriers to students’ achievement in assessments. Not enough of necessary knowledge is played out in schools. Lessons should always have a clear focus, a necessary direct instruction, for students to grow and live a productive life.
Cognitive scientists agree that learning requires prior domain specific knowledge about things that a text refers to, and that understanding the text consists of integrating prior knowledge (Hirsch) . . . The problem with learning can be solved if schools begin to follow that stress importance of broad-enabling knowledge—a need of curriculum that is oriented to knowledge rather than to general instruction. If educators do not spend time discovering and discussing life concepts with children, ideas that are well beyond children’s abilities, says Hirsch, educators will forsake a critical opportunity to increase their students’ knowledge. If children are taught to learn and live universally and respectfully, their opportunity for a productive life will be near.
A type of life skill necessary for students is conducting themselves appropriately in a school setting. Students should be instructed “No matter where you find yourself, conduct yourself as if you were a distinguished person.” While the behavior of many people is dictated by what is going on around them, students should hold themselves to a higher standard. Behavior skills can be easily incorporated with core concepts of English, math, history, and science. Ingenuity is necessary to be cleverly informed.
Another skill is necessary to help elevate children’s characters is to be a worthy role model who possess the characteristics the young people may admire. Students may wish to adopt the manners, speech, and behavior of their teachers if they so admire to do so. Students carry the seeds of greatness within, but they need an image as a focus in order that they may sprout. The image can be the teacher. Goodness exists independently of conception of it. The good is out there and it always has been out there, even before the beginning of time. People are born into essential goodness, endowed and worthy and what is not worthy. Every habit and faculty are persevered and increased by its corresponding actions (Epictetus).
The idea of learning is important, yet you should learn something that is worthy. This sentiment depicts the purpose of GramSlam!, a grammar book that conveys life skills in the actual sentences that students must problem solve. Students are allowed the opportunity to learn about life because they must be read practice sentences to determine the correct answers. (the book comes in color or black and white).
The beauty and difference of GramSlam! among other grammar books is that GramSlam! offers sectional lessons on study skills, self-esteem, anger management, and human nature. These topics represent notions that educators contend with every day in a school setting. By teaching these concepts through problem solving, students learn how to control their tempers and how to enhance their thinking. The constructed practice problems are the same page style as the answer keys; therefore, the lessons can be readily accessed and mastered.
The first part of GramSlam! reveals applied research that focuses on effective teaching. Delineated instruction of grammar lessons–the most difficult lessons--antecedent pronouns, usage, subject verb agreement–follow that are easy to understand and to follow. Lessons are made simple. The practical application of Bloom’s Taxonomy, Universal Intellectual Standards and many other best practices expounds in GramSlam!
Keeping in sync with Hirsch (2006), a deficit in knowledge exists in students because children are not learning important lessons that will be useful to them in their futures. To abolish this deficit, a deliberate study of the brain and how it influences learning and the traditional modes, the basic life skills of civility, must be deliberately taught, added to the national Standards so that these basic skills are instructed in every classroom.