Grammar teaching across the curriculum

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Transcript Grammar teaching across the curriculum

Eva Duran Eppler
[email protected]
Grammar teaching
the curriculum
(English & MFL)
The aim of the workshop is to explore
effective and cumulative ways of crosslinguistic and cross-subject grammar
teaching, i.e.
explore ways of building on pupils first and
additional languages to raise their
metalinguistic awareness of how languages
work, and how this can be utilised in the
learning and teaching of the structures of
English and foreign languages.
Historical background
• The idea is not new
• 1970s initiative by George Perren, former
Director of CILT, to bridge the “space
between” modern language and English
• 1999 QCA joint conference on Grammar
for foreign language and English
• 1999-2001 CILT/QCA Modern Foreign
Languages and Literacy at KS 2 and 3
Background Research
Research findings indicate that (early)
bilingualism can have clear cognitive and
academic advantages:
• attentional and executive control,
• problem-solving skills,
• metalinguistic awareness and working
• cognitive flexibility and linguistic creativity,
(Bialystok 2001-2011, Cummins 1979, Lauchlan et al. 2012, Meisel
2006, Paradis 2004). For a nice summary see
Background NC English
• changes to the NC for England in terms of
grammar teaching (Key Stages 3-5)
From September 2014 all pupils attending a UK
school (> Key Stages 3-5) are required to
acquire ‘an understanding of grammar and
knowledge of linguistic conventions for reading,
writing and spoken language’
This proposal will be extended to Key Stages 12 in the following years.
Background NC MFL
• the introduction of compulsory foreign
language teaching from Key Stage 2
onwards at Key Stage 2 from the same
In foreign languages pupils should be taught to
understand basic [?] grammar appropriate to the
language being studied, such as (where relevant):
feminine, masculine and neuter forms and the
conjugation of high-frequency verbs; key features
and patterns of the language; how to apply these,
for instance, to build sentences; and how these
differ from or are similar to English.
There is wide-spread concern among
practitioners1, advisors/consultants2,
politicians3, journalists4 and educators5 that
school teachers (newly qualified or already in
post) possess, or acquire, the requisite
competence in vocabulary/lexicology,
semantics, and grammar to teach the English
language and other languages as the subjects
are prescribed in the national curriculum
(Lord Quirk, Citation: HL Deb, 24 April 2013, c427W).
Teachers & Learners
• Many teachers have received limited
linguistic training (Hudson and Walmsley
2005: 616), or have little confidence in
their knowledge (possibly because they
have acquired it in an unsystematic way
(Cajkler & Hislam 2002).
• Pupils also have difficulties with learning
complex grammatical concepts (ibid.)
• Do they?
Activity 1
Paul Flynn (MP Newprot West) (Lab)
• Does the minister [E.Truss, Education]
agree that the most futile and ineffective
way to teach a language is through
• It is like suggesting that someone should
not learn to drive a car until they first learn
to dismantle the engine.
Activity 1
Paul Flynn (MP Newprot West) (Lab) cont
• The UK has an atrocious record on
teaching languages to fluency, …
• No one who is interested in or
knowledgeable about teaching language
would dare to try to do it through grammar,
which is a major obstacle to fluency, not a
Activity 1
Elizabeth Truss (Parliamentary underSecretary of State for Education)
• Learning the grammar of a language is
part and parcel of learning that language.
• One of the things that this government are
trying to do is introducing a spelling,
grammar and punctuation test …, so that
students learn the language of English
grammar before they learn the grammar of
another language.
Activity 1
• Elizabeth Truss (Parliamentary underSecretary of State for Education)
• I remember when I was at school, I learnt
the grammar of foreign languages before I
learned the grammar of my own language,
and I think this was a problem.
(Seventh Delegate Legislation Committee, Draft Education,
Amendment of the Curriculum Requirements for Second
Key Stage, England, 19/06/13)
Activity 1
1. Do you agree with Paul Flynn that the
most futile and ineffective way to teach a
language is through grammar?
2. Do you agree with Elizabeth Truss that
L1/English [?] grammar should be
covered before the grammar of foreign
CILT/QCA MFL & Literacy Project (1999-2001)
Wootton Bassett School, Swindon, K. Eames
RQ 1. How can I improve my Y9 pupils'
metacognitive understanding of sentencelevel grammar by making use of the
knowledge they have developed in MFL?
‘My original question was revealed by the
questionnaire to be wildly over-optimistic, so
I settled in reality for trying to develop pupils’
awareness of linguistic terminology’
Some findings from the CILT/QCA MFL &
Literacy Project (1999-2001)
Wootton Bassett School, Swindon, K. Eames
‘Regarding my intention to make use of the
grammatical knowledge pupils had gained
through MFL lessons, I was originally surprised
by the lack of recognition they claimed for
terms which might be used in their French or
German lessons, but discussion with MFL
teachers pointed out to me that the concepts
were used, but were not necessarily described
using grammatical terms.’
Results after one year of frequent low-level
references to linguistic features in lessons
There (Y9) was an increase in the
• recognition of grammatical terms [Noun,
Adjective, Verb, Adverb, Preposition, Article, Pronoun,
Conjunction; Tenses, Phrase, Clause types; Subject,
Object, Adverbial]
• acknowledgement of clause features [main/
subordinate clause, conjunction]
• confidence in pupils’ capacity to identify
terms in context
BUT pupils are slightly more likely to make
inaccurate identifications of features.
Where to go from here
Hudson's (2000) survey of the research evidence
for the claim that teaching grammar can improve
writing suggests that pupils who have 'mastered
parts of speech [word classes]1 and are able to
distinguish between subordinate and principal
[dependent and main] clauses' attained better
results in writing than those who 'had not learned
to analyse sentences'
need for continuous reference to grammatical
features, spread over many years, develops
familiarity with those features
CILT/QCA MFL & Literacy Project (1999-2001)
Wootton Bassett School, Swindon, K. Eames
RQ 2. How can I help develop
understanding between English and MFL in
order to make use of the ways in which we
both use grammatical terminology at
sentence level?
What specific grammatical terms get taught,
and when do they get taught, in both subject
areas [Englsih + MFL]?
It is not easy to map what grammatical
features are taught when in MFL;
 English teachers should be providing the
MFL department with accounts of what we
are doing, so that they can make use of it in
discussions with pupils, and in mapping
what gets covered when.
• Are there any common examples we could
refer to in both MFL and English, to
illustrate points of grammar or terminology
for pupils?
• Verbs – MFL teachers teach tenses very
effectively, pupils seem to have retained
this learning confidently in their English
• Nouns - ways of modifying nouns is one of the
characteristics of highly valued writing at KS 3
and GCSE.
• Adjectives - developing an understanding of
what an adjective is, where it appears, and how
its morphology differs between MFL and English
• sentence level focus - sentence combining
seems to produce an overwhelmingly positive …
(gain) in syntactic maturity' (Hudson 2000)
• What else?
Activity 2
A. Which of the following sentences would your
English teacher mark in red? And how?
How would you correct the mistake?
The lemon ice cream taste awful.
I like strawberry ice cream.
He like mango ice cream.
B. How would a French/Spanish/German person
say sentence 3 (correctly) in his/her language?
C. Now try to make the same mistake the speaker
of English makes in sentences 1 and 3 in
What a French teacher friend of
mine [AB Estevez] thinks…
Re A. Sentence 1 and 3 would be corrected
with verb agreement. It is KS3. The verb
ending would be underline in red with word
The student then has to correct the missing
3rd person sg. Agreement marker –s on the
verb in green pen.
What a French teacher friend of
mine (AB Estevez) said…
Re B. Sentence 3 would be :
Il aime la glace a la mangue.
An English speaker might make mistake
with word order i.e. mangue glace.
As for the verb, English students might use
the infinitive form for verb such as:
Il aimer mangue glace.
In Spanish mistakes would be similar
Activity 2
With a colleague who teaches English, if you are
an MFL teacher
With a colleague who teaches a MFL, if you are an
English teacher
• Select a grammatical feature English and
the MFL you teach share
• Construct an cross-linguistic and crosssubject activity illustrating this point
• Indicate the KS you think the activity would
be suitable for
What else is going on in this
direction at home and broad
• Language Awareness
• BSL Language Awareness Tasks
• Linguistics Association of Great Britain Education
Committee (LAGB EC)
• Learning and teaching grammar across the curriculum
(English and Foreign Languages) (4 Sept 2014, Oxford)
European Center for Modern Languages
Graz, Austria
• Cultural awareness and language awareness
based on dialogic interaction with texts in foreign
language learning (2001)
• The introduction of language awareness into the
curriculum (2000-2003)
Fra: Johannes Wagner [mailto:[email protected]]
Sendt: 26. maj 2014 15:07
Emne: Re: L1 & MFL grammar teaching overseas
I remember something called ¹tværfaglig grammatik¹ (interdisciplinary grammar) from the 90ies?
where people attempted to integrate the teaching of grammar across several modern
languages. Mainly in primary school (1-10) and the gymnasium (11->). I think that faded quite soon.
Nowadays students in the first grade of the gymnasium follow a course for half a year which is called
Œsproglig bevidsthed¹(linguistic awareness) which was intended to allow crosslinguistic grammar ...
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------From: Karen Sonne Jakobsen [[email protected]]
Sent: 26 May 2014 14:47
Subject: SV: L1 & MFL grammar teaching overseas
After the reform of the Danish gymnasium in 2005, "Almen sprogforståelse" ("general language
knowledge" according to van Liers conceptualization) is part of the curriculum for all first year students
prior to their choice of foreign languages (two FLs are compulsory, the first one being English). The
programme includes [general] grammar and also some Latin [on-line morphology] besides other
linguistic topics [grammar encyclopaedia, Danish morphology & syntax, an introduction to language
studies, methods for language studies; genres, style and rhetoric; comma rules; exercises; English
Almen Sprogforståelse aims to give students a general
knowledge of grammar, i.e. the members of a sentence
(function) and the word classes (material) and elementary
syntax. Among other things the students learn to use the
same Latin terms in the teaching of Danish and the foreign
languages. (A. Heltoft)
• Hudson, R. (2000) 'Grammar Teaching and Writing
Skills: The Research Evidence‘
• Cross Linguistic Approaches to Language Learning