Module 14 - Editing for Grammar and Punctuation
Kitty and Steve advise against making grammar the emphasis of your course. Certainly, expect
standard edited English in student assignments and teach students the appropriate rules and
forms. However, keep your course focused on rhetorical concepts in business communication.
Teaching Tip: Have students complete a diagnostic writing sample the first day of
class. Use as a prompt: “Tell me about the challenges you’ve faced in previous
writing courses or in writing on the job, including issues with spelling and
grammar.” See what challenges they name, as well as what problems occur in the
actual sample. If there are commonalities, incorporate mini-lessons on them in your
lectures—perhaps also assign as homework the appropriate Polishing Your Prose
problems or exercises from throughout Unit 4. Within a week, return the diagnostic
with comments on what resources are available to help students.
In-Class Exercise: After assessing the diagnostic, create groups of 3-5 students each.
Assign each group a grammar concern they share and have students present a 10- to
15-minute “lesson” in class. Schedule these lessons throughout the quarter. (This
assignment is particularly useful because it requires students to research their
concerns while doubling as an opportunity to polish oral presentation skills.)
Teaching Tip: The diagnostic may reveal that only a portion of Module 14 needs to
be covered in class (those grammar issues most problematic for students). If so, you
should still consider assigning the appropriate problems to students as homework.
Polishing Your Prose exercises are ideal for this purpose.
Students who have extreme difficulty with grammar are better served seeking help outside of
your course—from you during office hours, a personal tutor, a grammar textbook, your college
or university writing center, or any combination. You might also refer them to a course on
grammar that your school may offer. Many schools offer such courses through their
developmental education departments; some schools may offer grammar workshops free of
charge or on the web.
Teaching Tip: Schedule a visit from a representative of your writing center. Prior to
the visit, have students compose questions on specific grammar issues so that the
representative can explain how the writing center can help them. Students not only
will learn about the center’s services but also gain a contact name for their visits.
Teaching Tip: Remind students that while important, grammar should be assessed
late in the revision process. As Module 4 suggests, there’s no point correcting
grammar in a sentence or section that may be cut.
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