Invited SIG Eduling Symposium: Research on grammar teaching in language education: drawing on the pedagogic system as a a common ground
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, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, Escola Superior de Educação de Lisboa, 1549-003 Lisboa, Portugal
2) “Conceptualizing word classes” Morgane Beaumanoir-Secq, email@example.com, Université de Cergy-Pontoise, 33, boulevard du Port, 95011 Cergy-Pontoise cedex, France
3) “Grammar development in argumentative student writings” Krista Kerge, firstname.lastname@example.org, 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, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, 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, email@example.com, Tallinn University, Narva rd 25, 10120 Tallinn, Estonia
6) “Discussion: Grammar education, a meeting point of different approaches” Xavier Fontich, firstname.lastname@example.org, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona, Edifici-G5, 08193-Bellaterra Spain
- Adriana Cardoso & Iris Susana Pereira & Teresa Leite
This study investigates the metalinguistic activity of students attending the second year of the Bachelor’s degree in Basic Education, which provides the credits required to apply to masters on Pre-school Education (3 to 5 years) and Teaching in 1st and 2nd Cycles of Basic Education (6 to 10 years of age and 10 to 12 years of age, respectively). Students were engaged in a multiple-choice quiz which involved the identification of the syntactic categories of words (20 questions, each with 3 possible answers). On the basis of the content analysis of students’ collaborative talk, the study aims at: (i) identifying students’ conceptions about syntactic categories; (ii) analysing the strategies used to identify the syntactic category of words (morphological, syntactic, semantic criteria); (iii) suggesting instruction guidelines to promote the development of students’ syntactic awareness in higher education. Data collected includes audio recording of 30 groups peer-to-peer interaction and quiz scores. The results show that metalinguistic activity emerges at different levels (see Fontich 2016; Camps et al. 2000): declarative knowledge is involved, for instance, in the memorization of the intensive and extensive properties of the syntactic categories, whereas procedural knowledge arises in the strategies used to identify the syntactic category of words; interestingly, between both kinds of knowledge there seems to be a gap. Other variables will be explored in the triangulation of data, such as the quality of the talk (Fernández et al. 2001) and group dynamics (Corcelles & Castelló, 2015). Keywords: metalinguistic activity, higher education, linguistic awareness, collaborative talk
Camps et al. (2000). Metalinguistic activity: the link between writing and learning to write. In Camps & Milian (eds.), Metalinguistic activity in learning to write (pp. 103– 24). Amsterdam: AUP.
Corcelles & Castelló (2015). Learning philosophical thinking though collaborative writing in secondary education. Journal of Writing Research, 7(1), pp. 157-199.
Fernández et al. (2001). Re-conceptualizing “Scaffolding” and the Zone of Proximal Development in the Context of Symmetrical Collaborative Learning. Journal of Classroom Interaction. 50(1), 54-72.
Fontich, X. (2016). L1 grammar instruction and writing: Metalinguistic activity as a teaching and research focus. Language and Linguistics Compass, 10(5), 238-254.
- Morgane Beaumanoir-Secq
The objective of this study is to map pupils’ knowledge of the (CE2 and CM1, 8 to 10 years) on the word classes, categorization, and word selection. The corpus constituted by the written traces produced by the students has been the subject of a statistical treatment in order to allow the analysis. Word classes “determiner”, “noun”, and “verb” are terms fairly quickly and regularly used, with significant success rates. On the other hand, “adjectives” and “pronouns” seem to be disturbing concepts for primary school pupils. Pronouns are limited to a declarative knowledge of a list of subject personal pronouns, while the class of adjectives is not very present, hardly able to detach itself from the class of nouns, this class of adjectives seeming to be built on the basis of a proto -category that would constitute the set of adjectives of colors. Our work has led us to reconsider the value of grammatical terminology, as it is used in the classroom as a communication interface between teacher and learner. It shows that the manipulation of the language and the reasoning which follows make it possible to improve pupils’ performances, but not in a significant way for all: while some pupils are able to evolve in an abstract universe, to take manipulative tools, some remain outside these devices and only weakly manage to appropriate the tools provided, which do not seem adequate to their cognitive functioning. Also, in judgment of grammaticality (or that of acceptability), the greater or lesser distance between the pupil and the school variety of the language is likely to be an unsurmountable obstacle for the learner. Our research opens questions that remain sensitive (e.g., how to construct a terminological progression adapted to the state of conceptualization of the system by the students?). This research shows how students "do" grammar and how this quite often reveals the deficiencies of the linguistic descriptions of an elementary grammar in schooling. Keywords: categorization, words selection, word classes, elementary school grammar.
Beaumanoir-Secq (2018). Conceptualiser les classes de mots. Bruxelles : Peter Lang.
Tisset (2017). Enseigner la langue française à l’école, la grammaire, l’orthographe et la conjugaison. Paris: Hachette éducation.
- Krista Kerge
Adult use of grammatical constructions depends on classical text types or linguistic dimensions bounding genres (1). Based on usage-based approach, we studied development of linguistic means in the Estonian spontaneous argumentative student writings (n 196) in the age of 12, 14, 16 and 18 yrs. The essays had a close social topic, modified for the lower and upper age groups. As to grammar, after 14 yrs., all parameter values (except mean sentence length) grow abruptly and significantly in correlation with students’ age. The strongest correlations with age were found in text complexity measured by Björsson’s Lix (especially in word length), in word-variation measured by OVIX, in nominal style (percentage of substantives), and fluency measured by verb-noun token balance. By that, the formula we used for describing syntax (2) seemed to be suitable rather for longitudinal study of individual syntactic develop¬ment than for comparing age-groups synchronically (3.) Kerge also studied deixis reporting the results in the EduLing SIG seminar in Bialystok (2018). In both publications, the results were compared to so-called natural language use of the essays of educated adults who had the same topic and conditions of writing. In 2019 SIG EduLing, the results of a revised study (not yet accomplished) will be introduced. The question is put what are the main age differences in morphosyntax and syntax. Combining qualitative and quantitative methods makes it possible to both show the main trends in morpho¬logical and syntactic diversity and their correlations with lexical richness also studied earlier. As to quantitative data, several of methods will be used to find the most suitable ones (4). For the qualitative analysis, a number of writings with mean quantitative values will be chosen and compared to adult data. Keywords: writing, argumentative texts, morphosyntax, fluency
1.Biber(1995). Dimensions of Register Variation.Cambdrige:CUP.
2.Nippold(2004). Research on later language development. In: Berman (ed.), Language Development Across Childhood and Adolescence (pp. 1–8).John Benjamins.
3.Kerge et al.(2014). Development of syntactic parameters of teenage creative writing (English summary). Emakeele Seltsi aastaraamat,59,46–76.
4.Scott & Stokes(1995). Measures of syntax in school-age children and adolescents. Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, 26,309–19.
- Isabelle Gauvin & Genevieve Messier
This communication is a review of the teaching principles, strategies, techniques, and methods that are currently valued by research focusing on first language French grammar education. Research on this topic has led to many relevant ways to teach grammar; these ways, however, have yet to be organized to support teachers in the thoughtful planning of their grammar teaching. We will therefore propose an organization of the teaching principles, strategies, techniques, and methods, and we will see how they can form an operational didactic approach. This will also allow us to test Messier’s (accepté) conceptual network, a network that aims to clarify the nature, structure, and dynamics of concepts associated with the term method in didactics and pedagogy. More precisely, this didactic approach will clarify the principles supporting didactic intentions for grammar teaching and propose a set of didactic strategies (which include techniques and methods) that can be utilized by teachers. Our didactic approach is based upon two main foci: axiology and practice. The axiological focus includes the general principles of grammar teaching promoted by grammar education research - e.g. the contextualization of grammar teaching in reading, writing, and speaking practices (e.g. Boivin, 2014). The practice focus revolves around grammar teaching practices; more specifically, it highlights the techniques - e.g. the use of the students’ prior knowledge (Beaulne & Gauvin, 2017) and methods - e.g. zero-mistake dictation (Nadeau & Fisher, 2014) that are known to be efficient. Overall, our theoretical work, through a coherent organization of key concepts, will allow us to bring order to the field of French grammar education, which is still relatively young. Keywords: grammar teaching, classroom method, didactic approach
Beaulne & Gauvin (2017). Apprentissage de la notion de sujet en 1re secondaire, 19(4), 1-22.
Boivin (2014). Un modèle didactique d'articulation de la grammaire et de l'écriture. Rapport de recherche (on line)
Messier (accepté). Le concept de méthode en pédagogie et en didactique. Dans Étienne, Ragano et Talbot (dir.), Peut-on encore parler de méthode pédagogique ? Toulouse : Presses Universitaires du Midi.
Nadeau & Fisher (2014). Expérimentation de pratiques innovantes. Rapport de recherche FQRSC
- Merilin Aruvee
The aim of this research was to identify text instruction discourses or patterns that appear in literacy education across 6 subjects. Theoretical framework grows out of new literacies theory, and belief that every teacher is a language teacher, both of which stretch the ambiguous nature of texts and the need to integrate different modes to text instruction. In the spirit of ethnomethodological research (applied in Krogh’s study in 2012) 6 teachers (L1, L2, history and civics, STEM, music and handicraft) were asked to keep research diary, giving 6 descriptive entries of lessons of their own choice (36 entries altogether). Diaries provided information on the nature of texts, didactical purposes and methods of text instruction. Diaries were supplemented with follow-up interviews gathering self-reflective comments and notions of their choices. In the second stage of research 12 groups of teachers were formed and asked to give feedback to the diaries in order to make adequate generalization. Each diary was presented to two groups of teachers of the same subject: teaching experts (textbook authors, curriculum developers, L1 society’s board members etc) and in-service teacher groups, with 4 participants of the same subject. 12 group interviews were carried out. 3 sets of data (6 diaries, 6 self-reflective interviews and 12 group interviews) ran guided content analysis to find discourses, attempting to link the findings with Krogh’s (2012) and Ivanič’s (2004) writing discourses (2004). This was followed by more detailed discourse analysis, which viewed every subject field autonomously as well. Our presentation demonstrates common goals and activities that subjects have - literacy environment could be seen as a shared dancefloor to come together. Results demonstrate possibilities to combine literacy aided activities across subjects. Keywords: text instruction, authentic texts, (content area) literacy, linguistic literacy
Ivanič (2004). Discourses of writing and learning to write. Language and Education, 18, 3. 220–245.
Krogh (2012). Writing in the literacy era: Scandinavian teachers’ notions of writing in mother tongue education. L1 – Educational Studies in Language and Literature 12 (special issue). A contribution to the inescapability of language. Ed. by Iris Pires Pereira, Brenton Doecke, 1–28.