Strand 09ii: Language, Literacy, Reading and Grammar ROOM 112 | 13:30 to 14:15

Ian Cushing, Teaching Fellow in English Linguistics, University College London


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.

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