Breaking the Rules by Edgar Schuster. Liberating Writers Through Innovative
Breaking the Rules
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Breaking the Rules

Liberating Writers Through Innovative Grammar Instruction

Grammar doesn't have to be a stick-in-the-mud subject—stodgy, traditional, and rule bound. Open the pages of Ed Schuster's book and you'll find an energetic, untraditional, creative means of helping students become independent thinkers and more effective writers.

Schuster acknowledges that there ARE bedrock rules of English syntax that should be honored, and offers lesson plans to show how these rules can be taught effectively, in ways that empower students and enable them to write with confidence, authority, and precision. He also examines the history of the other rules, the "myth rules" that...

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Full Description

Grammar doesn't have to be a stick-in-the-mud subject—stodgy, traditional, and rule bound. Open the pages of Ed Schuster's book and you'll find an energetic, untraditional, creative means of helping students become independent thinkers and more effective writers.

Schuster acknowledges that there ARE bedrock rules of English syntax that should be honored, and offers lesson plans to show how these rules can be taught effectively, in ways that empower students and enable them to write with confidence, authority, and precision. He also examines the history of the other rules, the "myth rules" that are the legacy of traditional school grammar—taught for hundreds of years but infrequently followed outside of the classroom, as shown in numerous examples of the best contemporary writing. He devotes his book to better ways of teaching grammar, usage, writing, and punctuation by

  • teaching the unbreakable rules in such a way that they stay taught
  • debunking the "myth rules" that are commonly taught in class, but infrequently followed in practice
  • trusting students' own intuitive sense of grammaticality
  • appealing to the evidence of the work of his own and others' students and to the best contemporary writing.

"Only look and connect" is the guiding principle of Schuster's book. Look at the results of your teaching; look at the facts of language; look at practices of our best writers, both student and professional; look to see which rules really rule. Then connect what you discover to your teaching practice.

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Contents

Introduction: Rule Breaking and the Reflective English Teacher
1. Language Acquisition and Traditional School Grammar
2. Traditional School Grammar: Definitions That Do Not Define
3. Usage: Rules That Do Not Rule (and a Few That Do)
4. Writing: Liberating the Student Writer
5. Punctuation Today
Appendix: An Updated Treatment of the Parts of Speech

Samples

Companion Resources

Read Ed's article "Beyond Grammar: The Richness of English Language, or the Zero-Tolerance Approach to Rigid Rules" in the March, 2011, edition of English Journal (member login required).