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Friday, June 28, 2013

Inspiring Others to Write

All this week, I had the privilege to sit under the instruction of a terrific teacher who has inspired me to do something I never wanted to do: Teach grammar.

Yes, that’s right. 

She inspired me with her enthusiasm, intelligence, and love of teaching. Now I cannot wait to get into my classroom and teach my students how to be better writers and communicators. Yes, I know grammar can be tedious, but once you see how important it is in writing, you will love learning more about it!

What’s the big deal about teaching writing and communicating anyway?

Well, try reading an essay written with “texting” language.  Or try not to overreact when your student calls you “dude” during an oral presentation. Or try not to scream with frustration after counting all the “uhs” and “ums” in that same oral presentation. 

And don’t get me started on email communications!

To Write=To Communicate

Yes, our students are in great need of instruction in effective communication. And that’s why I am grateful that our teacher this week showed us the importance of teaching this topic.

But the main thing she did was educate me about the importance of grammar in writing. She taught me the trivium:

  • ·         Grammar
  • ·         Logic
  • ·         Rhetoric

And how all three go together when teaching reading and writing. This idea, from the classical liberal arts curriculum, aligns nicely with my personal philosophy of teaching. 

  • ·         Grammar- how to use words properly. 
  •  ·        Logic- thought/critical thinking
  • ·         Rhetoric- speaking and writing effectively and with reason in order to persuade.

As a teacher, I long to inspire my students to think for themselves about a variety of topics using reason. And then take those thoughts and put them down on paper in an organize manner using the tools (grammar) I have given them. Finally, I long to see them defend those thoughts judiciously, with factual support. 

How hard can that be?

As much of a challenge as it is, it is also that rewarding!

I find it sad that so many schools do not teach logic and rhetoric along with grammar. We, as a society, are losing out because of this. 

By teaching students how to use words properly, we are helping them succeed. By teaching students how to think for themselves, we are helping them succeed. By teaching students to speak and write using factual evidence to support what they are saying…we are definitely helping them succeed in life. 

Now that I have sat in a classroom where my teacher inspired me, I can be the teacher inspiring my students to want to write properly, think reasonably, and argue judiciously. 

All this will help make better and more productive citizens. Citizens who can communicate effectively in a variety of mediums. Citizens who can contribute to society. Citizens who can THINK and want to LEARN. 

In the end, isn’t that what we all want? 


Author, Ruth A. Douthitt’s first book, The Dragon Forest, was released by OakTara Publishing in 2011. The second book of the trilogy, The Dragon Forest II: Son of the Oath, is set for release in July 2013. Ruth teaches writing to middle grade students and lives in Phoenix with her husband and son. 

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