Why Are We Learning This? How Teaching Grammar Preps Students for Tech Careers

Aside from speaking and writing like an evolved human, having a strong grasp on grammar is important for both job and life skills. Having proper grammar helps students communicate more effectively, opening up opportunities across a variety of engineering fields.

We’ve discussed the benefits of learning history inspiring world change, plus why learning poetry is essential for fostering empathy. Here’s why grammar is key to helping students foster relationships, stand out in the job market and create strong careers in tech.

Grammar Matters Now and in the Future

Having bad grammar can say a lot about a person and the business or cause they represent, writes Megan Krause at ClearVoice. “People are going to make judgments on your competence and intelligence based on your grammar, whether they realize it or not — and regardless of whether you think it’s OK for them to do so.”

Since grammar affects how we write and how we speak, it can influence both our in-person and digital relationships. Since using improper grammar can make it easy to misinterpret a message sent online, grammar helps clarify a message and intent. For children and teenagers, who are at an especially impressionable age, proper grammar can play a part in fostering meaningful relationships with others.

Similarly, the ability to write using proper grammar ensures a positive first impression on social media, job applications and in networking opportunities, says Paige Donahue at Yoh Staffing and Recruiting. “Polishing the way you craft your message is the final and possibly most important part of writing.”

Grammar Propels Professional Growth

Some adults worry that the digital generation has given rise to young people who don’t know how to communicate properly. Whether replacing words for emojis or using shorthand and slang, it’s true that the internet has changed the way we communicate with one another.

Using technology to communicate doesn’t have to be the end of proper grammar, however. In fact, the digital age actually increases the demand for proper grammar in comparison to previous decades, explains Gregg MacMillan president of print company TechneGraphics.

“An interesting and perhaps unanticipated result of the growth in social media for marketing is an increased need for good writing skills. Blogs, drip marketing, opt-in electronic newsletters, and other ‘new media’ require both useful content and good writing to attract and keep readers,” he writes.

Moreover, being an informed consumer of these marketing messages requires literacy, of which grammar is an essential aspect. Students who are able to intelligently consume and digest information can better determine a credible source from one that may be subpar.

While bad grammar isn’t necessarily indicative of personality, it does make a person look careless. It may also have a negative impact on career success later in life, says Grammarly CEO Brad Hoover

Grammarly conducted a study to demonstrate just how much poor grammar can impact a person professionally. The study revealed that professionals who made 2.5 times as many grammar mistakes as their director-level colleagues failed to progress to a director-level position within a decade. Meanwhile, fewer grammar errors correlated with more frequent job changes and a higher number of promotions.

These findings were reinforced in survey findings from UK job and recruitment site Reed. Over 50 percent of recruiters in the study highlighted poor spelling and grammar as their number one application turn-off, writer Michael Cheary points out.

In an increasingly competitive job market that relies on digital communication, there isn’t room for spelling mistakes and grammatical errors. Students who learn proper grammar early will be much more likely to experience career success, regardless of the job path they choose.

Teaching Grammar

Teaching Grammar Supports Success in STEM Fields

In 2015, seven million job openings were in occupations that required coding skills. Today, programming jobs are growing 12 percent faster than the market average, says tech writer Lydia Dishman

In an increasingly tech-fueled world, engineering skills will be important for future generations. Surprisingly, grammar plays a pivotal role in helping students access this job market. This is because good grammar and even creative writing abilities can support career readiness for technology-related jobs, explains Alexandra Diracles, CEO of Vidcode, a coding platform for teens.

“You have to go through to find errors and restructure the grammar in a paper, and that’s exactly what you do with a program.”

She points to the School of Poetic Computation, which looks at the creative and artistic nature of design and engineering. Essentially, they’re the creative writing school of code. They consider themselves a school that “approaches writing code like creative writing — focusing on the mechanics of programming, the demystification of tools, and hacking the conventions of art-making with computation.”

Courses range from radical computer science and making handmade computers, to what is poetic computation and play your own poetry instrument. The School of Poetic Computation is just one example of how education systems are changing to incorporate more creativity into technical learning.

Another example of incorporating creativity into computer programming was led by instructional coach Peg Grafwallner. She joined forces with a computer science teacher and focused on cultivating computational literacy, which involves a basic level of computer programming. 

To cultivate these skills in students, Grafwallner and her colleague created a lessons that illustrated the importance and value of verbs, or direction words, and how they impacted the project outcome.

Students were taught strategies in reading and listening to a specific sequence of directions. In addition to fostering more precise programming, this exercise helped students realize the value of properly-worded directions across all classes and projects.

Teaching Grammar

Learning to be Detail-Oriented

Grammar and spelling also plays a role in helping prepare students for technology and STEM-related fields because they teach students how to focus and pay attention to detail. 

Successful software engineers are extremely detail-oriented. Whether its coding, testing, finding bugs or fixing issues, programmers need to be patient, organized and attentive in order to do their jobs well, says tech recruitment company Triple Crown Consulting.

“One of the largest responsibilities of engineers is being able to identify potential issues in order to avoid any problems down the road and this skill stems from their ability to pay acute attention to detail,” they explain.

Attention to detail also comes in handy when testing new lines of code, according to the team at Hack Reactor. “Programmers need to do frequent testing of the code they write, especially if they’re working with other teammates, to ensure that their code doesn’t conflict with someone else’s,” they explain.

Sometimes, this consists of thousands of tests to make sure that the code works correctly. Since programmers often test very subtle changes in code, it’s important to pay attention to what has been changed and to the outcome it produces.

As Jonathan Razza, senior director of emerging technologies at Liaison Technologies, puts it: “Paying close attention to detail is a must with computer programming because one tiny mistake can cause a domino effect.”

This shows that punctuation and syntax matter as much to computer programming as to proper grammar. The connection makes sense. Yet traditionally, students who excel at English, writing and grammar may not have been encouraged to pursue engineering careers. Today, many more people understand just how valuable literacy actually is to succeeding in technology careers.

Images by: Liam Anderson, Christina Morillo, RawPixel

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