Grammar teaching in Argentina

  • [Emilce Rees in 1997] I shall have to check what the situation is at present, but certainly in Argentina we had to do parsing in the Spanish class at secondary school, even having a category “sujeto tacito” for subject-pro-drop! While it was by no means “scientific”, it was rigorous.
  • [Cristina Banfi, with a 13-year old daughter in school there.]
    • The subject in school covers contents of (Spanish) Language and Literature and they have a section on “Language reflection”, which covers contents of normative use of the language, spelling, elements of discourse analysis and some syntax. I am attaching the cover page of these sections from 1st and 2nd year books (for 13- and 14-year olds). As for sentence diagramming, it doesn’t go much beyond labelling and (some) bracketing. I am attaching a double-spread on Active/Passive Voice and Verb Modifiers (Direct Object!), including Passive transformation.
    • As regards the training teachers get, yes, they do have grammar courses, particularly those who teach Spanish Language and Literature in secondary school. Here you can find a sample course plan for a teacher training course. You can see that they have three Grammar courses and one Linguistics course, plus one Historical Grammar/Linguistics, Discourse Analysis. It’s a fairly detailed document that describes the contents of each course. Primary school teachers have a more “generic” course since it is not only focused on Language and Literature but also comprises Mathematics, Social Sciences, Natural Sciences.
    • Here is some more material, from Primary School textbooks in this case. They come from different publishers and different years
      I selected those sections that deal with sentence structure specifically. There are other sections on morphology, semantics even some historical linguistics, but I thought you’d be interested in these ones because they include (some form) of graphic representation of structure.
      • The new approach that these books use (compared to the one used when I was a student, for example) seems to be one of contextualising the language to be analysed and drawing sentences and examples from texts rather than in isolation. I would guess this should make the material more memorable, less abstract, particularly for such young children. However, that is not necessarily the case.
      • I found it interesting to go over these examples since the same topics seem to be taught over and over again (primary, secondary school and even college) without much lasting learning. This I have experienced with students at college and even postgraduate level who seem to have forgotten what they learnt (or may be they didn’t learn it to start with) and also with my daughter. You’ll notice that the 5th grade material has handwritten answers: they are hers from a few years ago. And yet, when she was preparing for the entrance exam at a fairly selective secondary school, she didn’t seem to know these things. Furthermore, this year (1st year of secondary school in that selective school) she is still covering these contents …

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