Developing an instrument for measuring reflective thinking about grammar

Submitted by: Astrid Wijnands
Abstract: In my PhD-research ‘Working on linguistic awareness. Reflective thinking by using linguistic sources in education’, I developed a new grammar pedagogy to stimulate and facilitate a more critical and reflective attitude toward language and linguistic sources by students in pre-university education. This new pedagogy is based on Moseley et al. (2005) concerning learning cognitive thinking and on the Reflective Judgment Model of King and Kitchener (1994). It enables students to develop their thinking skills in investigating language by examining language step by step from the perspectives of language reality, language intuitions and the standard language rules. Moreover, it helps students to deal with linguistic sources such as linguistic advices and reference grammars. Those advices and reference grammars often do not give a clear answer to grammatical problems, but they present a rather nuanced analysis or balanced judgment. Based on this model, I carried out lessons in cooperation with teachers (so-called professional learning communities) in the Netherlands and in Belgium (Flanders).
In this presentation, I will focus on the development of an instrument for measuring reflective thinking about grammar. Basically, we adapted an existing questionnaire for measuring epistemological beliefs in History (Stoel 2017) for the domain of grammar. In addition to this questionnaire we also designed two assignments to analyze how students work on grammatical problems. Students from the Netherlands (N= 92) and from Belgium (N=82) and also linguistic experts from the Netherlands (N=7) completed the questionnaire. The assignments were only accomplished by the students. Based on the results on this questionnaire and on the analysis of the assignments, we developed a tool for measuring reflective thinking about grammar. In this presentation, I will outline how we designed and validated this test and these assignments. I will also show the preliminary results when using this tool in combination with our lessons we carried out in the Netherlands and Belgium.
Key words: grammar education, reflective thinking, epistemological beliefs

King, P.M. & Kitchener, K.S. (1994). Developing Reflective Judgement: Understanding and promoting intellectual growth and critical thinking in adolescents and adults. San Francisco: Jossey-Bas Publishers.
Moseley, D., Baumfield, V., Elliott, J., Gregson, M., Higgins, S., Miller, J., & Newton, D.P. (2005). Frameworks for thinking: A handbook for teaching and learning. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Stoel, G.L. (2017). Teaching towards historical expertise. Developing students’ ability to reason causality in history (Doctoral dissertation). University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam.