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I applaud the new HSC changes which will teach grammar and improve students’ writing skills.

Some of my journalism students yearn to write stories, yet can’t construct proper sentences. Their written communication skills have been gagged through a lack of education.

Consequently, I’m often engaged to run remedial grammar workshops for very bright, professionals in a range of industries. Not only do they have no clue how to use grammatical tools such as apostrophes and semi-colons, they don’t have the keys to structure clear, concise and coherent copy. (Don’t you love alliteration?)

If English is your only language – you need to get it right.

Ironically, I see many students whose mother tongue is not English, understanding and using the language better than the native speakers.

With Artificial Intelligence replacing many of our jobs in the future, our so-called ‘soft skills’ of verbal and written communication will be one of the few features which will put us ahead of the robots.

Since the 1970s primary school teachers have not emphasised grammar in the classroom for fear it would ‘inhibit a child’s creativity.’ Sadly, this has had the opposite effect. Adults who don’t have basic grammar and spelling skills are unable to express themselves on paper creatively or even accurately.

Not teaching grammar is like not teaching scales or music literacy to a child learning the piano; they may be musical but they’ll never really master the instrument.

There is freedom in structure. Once you’ve learnt the rules of any discipline; you are free to break them and experiment with them.

If you don’t understand the basics of writing, you will forever be inhibited and ill-equipped to use this powerful tool.

The pen is mightier than the sword.

See the article here in the Sydney Morning Herald

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