About three or four days back, I thought we had enough of prose lessons, so I decided to take up Transformation of sentences, and clauses with students of class eleven. When I started with Simple Sentences, they followed everything very well. The students began to have problems however with Compound sentences! They had problems in understanding the function of coordinating conjunctions as opposed to subordinating conjunctions. The greatest problem was felt when I started teaching them about complex sentences! Somehow, I lead them through adverb and adjective clauses only to encounter puzzlement when I took up noun clauses! It was easier for the students to understand the function of the adjective clause as that of modifying the noun/ the object of the principal clause, or the function of the adverb clause as that of modifying the verb in the principal clause. With the noun clause, they were however dumbfounded! It took me time to explain to them that the noun clause acts as the object or subject to the principal clause; that it is in apposition to the verb of the principal clause! Finally, the students were able to get the hang of the different kinds clauses and their functions.
The difficulty that student had in understanding such concepts as clauses, conjunctions, and complex sentences shows how far behind students following the English Core stream are from those following the English Elective Stream.The students had not had enough classes in grammar, they had not learnt about clauses, they did not know how to differentiate between a phrase and a clause. My Daughter who is studying in class Eight in a Public School has clauses, and transformation of sentences into compound and complex and vice versa in her English syllabus! So then isn’t there such a huge gap between the English syllabus of Public School students, and Government or Government Aided Schools? Unfortunately, it is true! Earlier Government, School students started learning English relatively later than their public school counterparts, and of course, there is a big difference between the syllabi! To improve the standard of English, clarification of concepts should take place in the earlier classes like eighth, ninth and tenth. There should be more of formal grammar at all levels in school. Perhaps it would be a good idea to have formal grammar in twelfth class. Unfortunately, the Interactive and the Communicative app roach in the teaching of English don’t seem to give much weight age to the teaching of important concepts of English Grammar. Although today, communication and inter action are no doubt important, garbled communication however is undesirable! Garbled communication results from not having a proper knowledge of grammar!
I very strongly feel that there should be more of grammar, formal grammar in the English syllabus today. Unless we take up concepts of grammar in earlier classes, students of eleventh will continue to be confused by Noun Clauses, and Complex sentences! If the Wren and Martin Grammar Book seems to be too difficult, then can’t we have books by Raymond and Murphy in our schools? We all know that the Grammar book by Wren and Martin has been the backbone of High School grammar for ages, but can we do without it now? The understanding of such basic topics such as clauses, phrases, sentence connectors, types of sentences is highly essential and cannot be ignored!