Teaching grammar proper good.

Some great knowledge to revise here for English teachers. This is now what’s expected at primary level on grammar teaching. Anyone struggling with this needs to do the NOCN Level 3 Cert in Teaching Functional Skills English course that I did in 2013 at Kirklees College in Huddersfield. It covered all this technical detail and more. Something that is missing though is a similar course in teaching methods and age/ability appropriate delivery skills. What works in primary won’t work in secondary or FE and vice versa. I think something that has also helped me in this regard was my TEFL training, which did give help with learning how to teach grammar, mostly to adults, which suits the FE environment. In TEFL you mostly elicit from learners and provide concept based examples and scenarios. Teaching using the direct method and repetition also helps. Grammar is still mostly embedded though. The best grammar tuition I have ever had was in Germany, learning German as a foreign language. Highly structured, excellent exercises to repeat and practise key points learned. I still got away without needing to know what morphemes and graphemes were though. Do kids at infant school really need that?!?


I’ve been meaning to write a series of blog posts about grammar for a while. The new expectations in primary require a high level of understanding from pupils (and therefore teachers), and the terminology list is daunting. There is lots of discussion about ideological and political connotations related to grammar, which I don’t want to get in to here. There is also some discussion over the validity and reliability of the grammar tests in primary school. I have views on this, but won’t express them here.

This post was provoked by a twitter discussion in which the classification of the word ‘bright’ was brought in to question when used in the sentence ‘the bright red coat’. It’s a useful example to sharpen our intuitions against. In the rest of this post I’d like to discuss adverbials, and if it seems useful I’ll write a series of posts on teaching grammar…

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