This talk critically examines grammar policy and pedagogy as conceptualised within the current UK National Curriculum. Specifically, I focus on the incongruence between primary and secondary policy, and what this means in terms of transition and pedagogy between the two. I argue that primary school policy foregrounds ‘technical’ grammatical knowledge at the expense of ‘applied’ grammatical knowledge, whereas secondary policy is much more geared towards descriptive and functional linguistics. Using a combination of thematic and metaphor analysis with data acquired from a survey with 275 English teachers and interviews with 24 English teachers, I critically explore how the incongruity of primary–secondary level grammar policy is impacting upon grammar pedagogy at secondary level. I show how many teachers report secondary students conceptualising grammar as a list of technical terms, with little idea or experience of how to use this knowledge in applications such as critical reading or creative writing.
Ian Cushing, Teaching Fellow in English Linguistics, University College London