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    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
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      • English
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      • United States
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      • United States

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    #1

    I'm at a Linguistic and Educational Crossroad

    The bit of brief background information necessary for this to make sense: I teach junior and senior English at a relatively small (~450 students 7-12) school in a rural area of the South. I have done so for three years and have taught Reed-Kellogg diagramming for two of those three years.

    The crux of my dilemma: I have not found enough convincing evidence to support the usefulness of diagramming as an educational tool and, though its use has revealed to me the essence of English (any other languages), I do not now know if I will continue to teach it, or merely do as others: eschew my teaching of diagramming in favor of a more modern, worksheet-driven approach.

    What I hope to find from you all, an arguably biased group: A confident, well worded argument in favor of remaining true to my linguistic roots. Maybe even a suggestion or two for livening up the delivery of the material. At this juncture anything will do.

    Thank you,

    J. Jones

    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
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      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
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      • Japan

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    #2

    Re: I'm at a Linguistic and Educational Crossroad

    Has it got other benefits- motivational, etc?

    • Member Info
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      • English Teacher
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      • English
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    #3

    Re: I'm at a Linguistic and Educational Crossroad

    I believe so, but I'm looking for someone with experience using it (either having taught it or having been taught it) who can attest to its usefulness. Mostly, I just wanted to have a discussion about its merits. Here's a list of Pros and Cons that I've compiled:

    Pros:
    1. It is, essentially, a form of graphic organizer which helps students to visualize and organize their thoughts (graphic organizers are very popular in American education right now).
    2. Students learn a skill which, while not necessarily practical, can be fascinating to apply and fun to engage in.
    3. It teaches both divergent problem solving (there are sometimes multiple possible diagrammings) and logical thought (something I find sorely lacking).

    Cons:
    1. It has a horribly bad rap. There's just a stigma attached to the crucifixion of sentences on the cross of the diagram.
    2. There's a great deal of labor involved with the teaching of the processes; it seems like the energy could be better spent in another way.
    3. Only one discipline is being dealt with when teaching the diagramming: grammar. English Language education today is very much about interdisciplinary and multi-concept teaching.

    Let me know what you think.

    • Member Info
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      • English Teacher
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      • British English
      • Home Country:
      • UK
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      • Japan

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    #4

    Re: I'm at a Linguistic and Educational Crossroad

    Diagramming is less common in the UK- I went through school, university and taught for a number of years without coming across it. When I did, I read a book on it but couldn't get much enthusiasm for it, so I haven't used it in class. Some find it fascinating, but I never got the bug.

    • Member Info
      • Member Type:
      • English Teacher
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      • English
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    #5

    Re: I'm at a Linguistic and Educational Crossroad

    That's understandable. For whatever reason it was more or less monopolized by teachers in the United States from the mid-40s through the 70s/80s. It died a slow death as the teachers from the 40s (for whom it was new) began retiring in the 70s and 80s. Now it's like knowing Gregg Shorthand--I feel like a dinosaur walking about at times, but I just hope I can make up my mind before August--when we go back to school.

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    #6

    Re: I'm at a Linguistic and Educational Crossroad

    Mr. Jones:

    Since you are a new member, you may not be aware of the fact that Mr. Frank Antonson has been the chief contributor

    to the diagramming forum for several years. He is a teacher who believes that the Reed-Kellogg

    diagramming system is the cat's meow. I have noticed that he has not posted recently (summer vacation?), but when

    he returns he will be able to tell you about his experiences in teaching Reed-Kellogg.

    *****

    One nun who taught diagramming to Ms. Linda Chavez, formerly a government official, gave this advice:

    "If you can't diagram it, don't write it."

  1. 5jj's Avatar
    • Member Info
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      • Retired English Teacher
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    #7

    Re: I'm at a Linguistic and Educational Crossroad

    Quote Originally Posted by TheParser View Post
    "If you can't diagram it, don't write it."
    I am afraid that would result in my writing nothing.

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