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By Elyssa & Nicole | Writing Center Consultants | May 25th, 2017

It can be difficult to design enjoyable grammar lessons for students at any level. A typical response to “today we’re working on grammar” sounds something like, “UGHHH, No!” However, students who have not learned English as a first language have even more difficulty  understanding the complexities of the language.

During my time at the Writing Center, I have had the privilege of working with IEP, Intensive English Program, students. In these sessions, we focus on writing and speaking to help students improve their language abilities. Often, it is difficult to explain common grammar rules because I have just learned them instinctively. I have found myself looking to other writing consultants to see if they could explain the rules any easier, only to find we usually all feel the same–“I’m not sure.”

As writing consultants, we want to provide our students with the best we have to offer, but we feel as though we are falling short when helping IEP students understand grammar; however, a new model, the CCCC model, could help us with teaching aspect of our sessions. This model is composed of: confrontation, clarification, confirmation, and consolidation. In this model, teachers and educators are forced to be aware of the students’ competence and assist based on that, rather than curriculum requirements. Students first confront their grammar problems and try to answer each question without interruption or assistance from a teacher. Next, they clarify their questions by working with others in the class to solve problems. The teacher then brings the group together and confirms the answers that each student has provided. Finally, the teacher consolidates the group’s answers and addresses all questions and concerns students have.

I hope to apply this model when working with IEP students. I think it will give the students a better opportunity to problem solve on their own without me constantly assisting or giving them the answers. It is easy to simply give students the correct grammar without explaining why or making them work through it on their own; however, this is not going to be beneficial to them in the long-run. Using this model, the students can do the work on their own and ask me questions if they are confused. I will not be there every time they have a question about grammar, so it is important to have them be able to work through their own problems!

My question arising from this research is how to best utilize the CCCC model to assist in teaching grammar in the Writing Center? Because we work one-on-one with students in the Writing Center, how would we implement this classroom, group model in our sessions?