Scaffolded Grammar Teaching of Writing and Student Group Work

Submitted by: Inger Maibom
Abstract: Scaffolded Grammar Teaching of Writing and Student Group Work

Inger Maibom, VIA University College
Grete Dolmer, VIA University College

Explicit grammar. Students’ writing. Scaffolding.

Our project is based on the conviction that an explicit and functional approach to grammar embedded in the teaching of writing has a positive effect on students’ writing. (Myhill et al. 2018). Using Vygotsky and Bruner’s concept of zone of proximal development as the underlying basis, we examine the importance of teacher scaffolding for the students’ understanding and application of metalanguage when they produce texts in groups.

Research Questions
How is teacher scaffolding of language and grammar significant for the students’ writing of texts when they work in groups?
What positions do the students take or what positions are they assigned in the group work and how does this affect their writing?

Theory and method
In the talk we present findings from two key examples. In the analysis we apply positioning theory (Hetmar 2017) with the aim of determining the importance of the roles the students take or are assigned for when writing of texts. The project is part of a large national study (Gramma3, 2018-19). This study aims at contributing with valuable insight into the importance of the teacher’s scaffolding of grammar in L1 and the importance of pupils’ group work interaction in text writing (Mikkelsen et al. 2019). The study is a focused ethnographic study (Knoblauch, 2005) with data consisting of classroom observations and interviews with teachers and students in Year 7 and 8 from 7 schools in Denmark.

Key findings
We have found different contrasting tendencies in our study. In some classrooms we see examples of limited scaffolding and teaching of grammar, whereas other classrooms are characterized by more scaffolding and explicit teaching of grammar. The extent and nature of scaffolding have an impact on the positions the students take or are assigned in the group work and this becomes important for their writing. Our findings call attention to the need of intense scaffolding and functional teaching of grammar before and during the context of writing according to the students’ needs.

Hetmar, V. (2017): ’Positioneringsteori og scenariebaserede undervisningsforløb’ in Bundsgaard, J. et al.(red) (2017): Hvad er scenariedidaktik? Pp 75-95. Århus: Aarhus Universitetsforlag.
Mikkelsen, Holst og Rohde (2018) Stilladsering i innovativ undervisning med it. I Bundsgaard et al. (2018) (red) Innovativ undervisning med it. Aarhus Universitetsforlag
Myhill, D. (2018). Grammar as a meaning-making resource for improving writing. Contribution to a special issue Working on Grammar at School in L1-Education: Empirical Research across Linguistic Regions. L1-Educational Studies in Language and Literature, 18, pp. 1-21.
Wood, David, Jeremy S. Bruner and Gail Ross (1976): The role of tutoring in problem solving. Nottingham, Oxford and Harvard Universities. Pergamon Press. Printed in Great Britain.