“The curriculum is quite weird. For example, the learning a certain [grammatical] feature at a certain point, I do not understand that at all,” says Mark Brenchley, associate research fellow at the Centre for Research in Writing at the University of Exeter.
He and Ian Cushing, a teaching fellow in English linguistics at University College London, believe that this is not the only weird thing about grammar teaching in schools and how teachers perceive grammar. In the 8 December issue of Tes, they detail a number of these aspects and in this week’s Tes Podagogy they build on these and add a few more.
For example, the notion of grammar being "correct" is highly problematic, says Cushing.
“I try to avoid the terms 'correct' or 'incorrect' – those terms feed into the discourse that grammar is some kind of rule book,” he says. “As soon as you do that you get teachers worrying about rights or wrongs, that is dangerous, as it sets up a hierarchy where one language is better than another. We need to talk instead about language being on a scale of appropriateness. It is context that should shape and drive the way language is used.”
In an advice-packed podcast, the pair discusses how to teach grammar most effectively, what impact grammar teaching has on writing, why grammar is “fuzzy”, how we empower teachers to be more confident with grammar and they talk about things like the delightful sounding “noun-y nouns”.
You can listen for free by downloading the podcast from iTunes or listening below.