National Council of Teachers of English

Resolution on Grammar Exercises to Teach Speaking and Writing

1985 NCTE Annual Business Meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania


This resolution was prompted by the continuing use of repetitive grammar drills and exercises in the teaching of English in many schools. Proposers pointed out that ample evidence from 50 years of research has shown the teaching of grammar in isolation does not lead to improvement in students’ speaking and writing, and that in fact, it hinders development of students’ oral and written language. Be it therefore


Resolved, that the National Council of Teachers of English affirm the position that the use of isolated grammar and usage exercises not supported by theory and research is a deterrent to the improvement of students’ speaking and writing and that, in order to improve both of these, class time at all levels must be devoted to opportunities for meaningful listening, speaking, reading, and writing; and

that NCTE urge the discontinuance of testing practices that encourage the teaching of grammar rather than English language arts instruction.


This position statement may be printed, copied, and disseminated without permission from NCTE.