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Sunday, June 20, 2021
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Mother and son helping teachers win the grammar wars

English grammar is back in the Australian Curriculum. The problem is many teachers did not have grammar in their teacher training, or even in their own schooling. It doesn’t seem fair to expect teachers to teach complex concepts that many may never have heard of before.

After 27 years of teaching English and grammar at CIT and University of Canberra, along with PhD research on grammar teaching, Margaret McBride decided to help teachers get confident teaching grammar – everything from modal auxiliaries to complex sentences.

In 2015, lifelong Canberran, Margaret, set about developing a five-hour workshop that covered the fundamentals of English grammar as outlined in the Curriculum. The face-to-face training course, which is both ACT Teacher Quality Institute and NSW Educations Standards Authority accredited, has been attended by hundreds of teachers in the ACT and NSW.

 When Covid-19 restrictions hit, many teachers were faced with even more questions about grammar (as parents grappled with helping their kids with school work at home). With face-to-face professional development workshops out of the question, it was time to get creative. Margaret reached out to her son, Dr Navid Sabet, who – luckily – has a background in education and instructional design.

The new mother and son team combined their specialised skills to develop an online education platform called GrammarTraining.com.

Teachers can now jump online and complete a self-paced, accredited grammar course with lots of creative, interactive activities to practise their new knowledge.

“Grammar really is a fascinating subject,” says Margaret passionately. “Language is constantly evolving, and because people aren’t sure of the rules anymore, they are ‘hypercorrecting’.  For example, many people are using I instead of me as it seems to be the safer option. We are hearing it everywhere (including ABC Radio) – and the inaccurate use of ‘reflective pronouns’ such as ‘myself’ has become even more widespread.”

To make grammar more fun and not a dreaded subject, GrammarTraining.com has also started presenting Grammar Grabs on their Facebook page, where people can learn fun facts about grammar. For example, did you know that it’s okay to split your infinitives? Don’t know what an infinitive is? They explain that too.

So how can teachers enrol in the workshop? Head to grammartraining.com for all the details. They also offer follow-up support, where teachers are welcome to email any grammar questions they may have in the future.

Schools are also welcome to contact Margaret and Navid at [email protected] if they would like a free trial of the course. Happy Grammaring! (which is, surprisingly, a real word).

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