>I have a serious question, one I hope people will not not view as cynical, but >rather as inquisitive. I am the one who fails to see what use diagramming >sentences serves. Some of you have supported it. I sincerely want to >understand to what purpose it exists. Some of my colleagues have supported it >as necessary in the understanding of languages. I can certainly understand >that and as such it should perhaps be included in a study of languages, in whose >context it might make more sense; but is it necessary to develop the ability >to write? How do you see that it has served you as an adult? This is not >intended as a cynical post. I am merely pondering whether there are >approaches in both language and mathematics education that need to be >rethought. > >Bob >
"How do you see that it has served you as an adult?" Indeed, this is a legitimate question. And, indeed, it is the same question students often ask in many of their classes. It would seem that many of the skills I learned in school have not been put to use now that I am an adult. Diagramming sentences, reciting the state capitals, dissecting a frog, listing the prime numbers from 1 to 100, etc. These are skills which, with the exception of listing prime numbers, I really have no use for in *my* daily life. I included the listing of prime numbers simply because I think *most* people do not use this skill in their daily life, even though I use it as a mathematics educator.
So, is there a higher purpose for each of these skills?
While I am seldom asked to name the state capitals, the fact that I now know them is useful when I follow the news.
While I am never asked to dissect frogs anymore, I have a better understanding of what are the basic internal systems of the body and, thus, can understand my own existence a little better.
And, while I am never asked to diagram sentences anymore, I have a better grasp of what constitutes good sentence structure (even though some of these sentences may not demonstrate my understanding). I think diagramming has helped me to compose better sentences both orally and in writing.
Of course, this is based only on one person's experience (namely, mine). But I do believe that diagramming has its place in the classroom. However, in some english classrooms, diagramming may receive too much emphasis, as do some skills in mathematics classrooms.