​Working Collaboratively to Develop a Descriptive Pedagogy of Grammar

Karen Daniels, Lyndsay Gray, Marie Helks, Jemma Monkhouse & Julia Myers: Sheffield Hallam University. 

This study, based on collaboration between Sheffield Hallam University researchers and school partners, drew on a collaborative lesson study approach in order to generate shared understandings of effective approaches to the teaching of grammar at Key Stage 2.

In July 2016, after the field work and study lessons had taken place, the research team came together for an afternoon to share and examine the data from the three schools, and to discuss initial findings. Following this a report and evaluation of the project was presented at the UKLA 52nd International Conference 2016. Details of the presentation can be found within the conference brochure. The presentation combined reflections of a selection of grammar lessons from a range of perspectives, including those of the teacher and the university staff. Pupil focus group recordings brought pupil perspectives of their grammar lessons to the meeting. These were thought provoking and added a fascinating dimension to the study.

Pupils on the whole enjoyed their grammar lessons, but the particularly valued those that gave them an opportunity to play collaboratively and creatively with language, within the structure of the particular element of grammar that was being taught.

Many pupils enjoyed using grammatical terminology and they liked being able to use this to describe how texts work and how they are effective. They valued using this knowledge to develop and evaluate their own writing. Less popular was the use of 'checklists' of features to include in writing, which some pupils found restrictive. They also stated that using checklists often changed their writing too much and pupils voiced a loss of ownership over their own writing. This freedom to innovate and play with language across grammar lessons and in creative writing was a recurring theme in the pupil focus groups. 

For further details contact Karen Daniels at [email protected]