Invited SIG Eduling Symposium: Research on grammar teaching in language education: drawing on the pedagogic system as a a common ground

Submitted by: Xavier Fontich
Abstract: The role grammar teaching plays in Language Arts is controversial and a focus of a permanently open debate (Boivin et al. 2018). For a number of years, and still until recently, a dominant question on the international arena was whether grammar teaching had any effect in improving pupils’ communicative skills (specially in writing). Such question was underpinned by an approach to grammar teaching dominated by contributions from linguistics, with scarce consideration for classroom pedagogy (e.g., whether students were meant to talk in order to learn) and pupils’ learning processes (i.e., the obstacles in the process of conceptualization and the gap between declarative and procedural knowledge); furthermore, there was little attention to the interplay between linguistic models and school contents. Nonetheless, over the last years, there is in some countries a growing agreement about the need to locate the focus of research and practice in the interplay between these three poles: grammar content, teaching methods, and learning processes (i.e., the pedagogic system). The pedagogic system is seen as an overarching frame that serves as a horizon for the studies in this field, which albeit temporarily focused on one of the three poles do always have close connections with the other ones (see for instance Ribas et al. 2014). While this has been widely shared in the Francophone area, it is still far from being a common ground on a broader international setting. This symposium wishes to contribute to such a common ground, with contributions by researchers from Francophone Canada, Estonia, France, and Portugal, and a discussant from Spain, and with communications exploring a plethora of issues that fall around the poles of the pedagogic system: the learning processes of a specific grammar concept (namely, word classes; Cardoso, Pereira & Leite; Beaumanoir-Secq) and of argumentative writing (Kerge), grammar teaching methodologies (Gauvin & Messier), and reflective language practices across subjects that could potentially benefit from grammar knowledge. We believe that empirical studies presented in our symposium will contribute conceptual clarity to the role grammar instruction plays in language education. Keywords: pedagogic system, learning processes, teaching methodologies, grammar content

Boivin et al. 2018). Working on grammar at school in L1 education: Empirical research across linguistic regions. Introduction to the special issue. L1-Educational Studies in Language and Literature, 18, p. 1-6.
Ribas et al. (ed.) (2014). Grammar at school: Metalinguistic activity in language education. Brussels: Peter Lang.


1) “Metalinguistic activity in higher education: thinking about words” Adriana Cardoso, Susana Pereira, & Teresa Leite,,,, Escola Superior de Educação de Lisboa, 1549-003 Lisboa, Portugal

2) “Conceptualizing word classes” Morgane Beaumanoir-Secq,, Université de Cergy-Pontoise, 33, boulevard du Port, 95011 Cergy-Pontoise cedex, France

3) “Grammar development in argumentative student writings” Krista Kerge,, Tallinn University, Narva rd 25, 10120 Tallinn, Estonia

4) “Organizing the field of French grammar education through a network of concepts related to method” Isabelle Gauvin & Geneviève Messier,,, Université du Québec à Montréal, 405 Rue Sainte-Catherine Est, Montréal, QC H2L 2C4, Canadà

5) “Literacy as shared dancefloor for school subjects” Merilin Aruvee,, Tallinn University, Narva rd 25, 10120 Tallinn, Estonia

6) “Discussion: Grammar education, a meeting point of different approaches” Xavier Fontich,, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Edifici-G5, 08193-Bellaterra Spain