Why Kids Can’t Write
Back in 1989, I was charged with teaching a course entitled "Basic Writing Skills" at an Episcopal high school. Since virtually none of my students had any of these skills, there was a lot to cover. What was particularly noticiable was that they had no idea, absolutely none, about the parts of a sentence. The whole notion of subject and predicate was lost to them. So, that's where we started. It took almost half a year, but they were eventually able to recognize the difference between direct and indirect objects and diagram complex sentences with at least a 70% accuracy. Hurrah!
The director of admissions for the school came to me in some distress shortly after the start of the second semester. After clearing his throat for awhile and hemming and hawing, he finally got to his point. "You need to teach them how to write, not to grammar."
Yeah, that's how we got to where we are today. By the way, my response to him was beneath the dignity of my profession. I still smile when I recall his reaction to it.