The academic perspective Eva Duran Eppler Jeanette Sakel

Eva Duran Eppler
[email protected]
Jeanette Sakel
[email protected]
The academic
• Background and research:
– Language awareness and grammar teaching
– Links between MFL and English Language
• Evidence from abroad:
– Austria
– Denmark
• Academic approaches to grammar teaching:
– Linguistics vs. TESOL
• A common approach:
– Glossary for KS1-2 English Grammar
– The new EC glossary
The new curriculum (NC)
• Compulsory foreign language teaching at
Key Stage 2
• “In foreign languages pupils should be taught to
understand basic grammar appropriate to the language
being studied, such as (where relevant): feminine,
masculine and neuter forms and the conjugation of highfrequency verbs; key features and patterns of the
language; how to apply these, for instance, to build
sentences; and how these differ from or are similar to
BUT there is wide-spread concern among
practitioners1, advisors/consultants2,
politicians3, journalists4 and educators5 that
school teachers (newly qualified or already
in post) possess, or acquire, the requisite
competence in vocabulary/lexicology,
semantics, and grammar to teach the
English language and other languages as
the subjects are prescribed in the national
(Lord Quirk, Citation: HL Deb, 24 April 2013,
Teachers & Learners
• Many teachers have received limited
linguistic training (Hudson and Walmsley
2005: 616), or have little confidence in
their knowledge (possibly because they
have acquired it in an unsystematic way
(Cajkler & Hislam 2002).
• Pupils also have difficulties with learning
complex grammatical concepts (ibid.)
• Do they?
The evidence base
Research findings indicate that (+/- early)
bilingualism can have clear cognitive and
academic advantages:
• Attention and executive control
• Problem-solving skills
• Metalinguistic awareness and working
• Cognitive flexibility and linguistic creativity
(Bialystok 2001-2011, Cummins 1979, Lauchlan et al. 2012, Meisel
2006, Paradis 2004).
Murphy & Macaro study
• Link between L2 acquisition and L1
• e.g. Murphy et al. (2013):
• 3 year study with primary school children
Group with Italian as L2 (clearer
grapheme-phoneme correspondences)
outperformed group with French as L2.
Solutions to teaching languages
• e.g. Peter Downes ‘Discovering Language’
(ASCL project)
• Teaching a variety of languages, sounds,
language families, etc. to primary-school
Newbury Park
• ‘Language of the month’
• Individual
• Grammar?
TV: e.g. The Lingo Show
• Teaching a dozen words – three in detail
CILT/QCA MFL & Literacy Project
Kevin Eames, Wootton Bassett School,
• Developing pupils’ awareness of linguistic
terminology, working with the knowledge
pupils had gained in MFL sessions
• MFL Teachers did not always use the
grammatical terms, while the concepts
were used
Results after one year (Y9) of frequent
low-level references to linguistic features
Increase in:
•recognition of grammatical terms [Noun,
Adjective, Verb, Adverb, Preposition, Article, Pronoun,
Conjunction; Tenses, Phrase, Clause types; Subject,
Object, Adverbial]
•acknowledgement of clause features [main/
subordinate clause, conjunction]
•confidence in pupils’ capacity to identify terms
in context increased
 BUT pupils made more inaccurate
identifications of features.
Where to go from here
Hudson's (2000) survey of the research evidence
for the claim that teaching grammar can improve
writing suggests that pupils who have 'mastered
parts of speech [word classes]1 and are able to
distinguish between subordinate and principal
[dependent and main] clauses' attained better
results in writing than those who 'had not learned
to analyse sentences'
need for continuous reference to grammatical
features, spread over many years, develops
familiarity with those features
CILT/QCA MFL & Literacy Project
Kevin Eames, Wootton Bassett School
• Are there any common examples we could
refer to in both MFL and English, to
illustrate points of grammar or terminology
for pupils?
• Verbs – MFL teachers teach tenses very
effectively and pupils seem to have
retained this learning confidently in their
English lessons.
• Nouns - ways of modifying nouns is one of the
characteristics of highly valued writing at KS 3
and GCSE.
• Adjectives - developing an understanding of
what an adjective is, where it appears, and how
its morphology differs between MFL and English
• sentence level focus - sentence combining
seems to produce an overwhelmingly positive …
(gain) in syntactic maturity' (Hudson 2000)
• What else?
Results from Hudson (2004)
More mature writing has:
• Longer sentences
• More adjectives and adverbs.
• Fewer coordinated clauses
– But related to grade, not to age!
• More nouns (but not abstract ones !)
% noun (+ 8)
Examples from abroad
• European Center for Modern Languages
Graz, Austria
• Cultural awareness and language awareness
based on dialogic interaction with texts in foreign
language learning (2001)
• The introduction of language awareness into the
curriculum (2000-2003)
Almen Sprogforståelse (taught before L2s) aims to give
students a general knowledge of grammar, i.e. the
members of a sentence (function) and the word classes
(material) and elementary syntax. Among other things the
students learn to use the same Latin terms in the teaching
of Danish and the foreign languages. (A. Heltoft)
Out of school - at university
• Students who have learnt a foreign
language usually understand linguistic
concepts more readily
• Those students are usually better at
expressing themselves in English
• Anecdotal evidence: European students
tend to do better at grammar
Academic approaches
• A common approach – a common
•  difference between Linguistics vs.
TESOL (and/or languages & area studies)
•  different approaches, terminologies
• Linguistics tend to ‘tease everything apart’
e.g. try to dis-entangle tense and aspect
• TESOL teach tense and aspect together
• TESOL “fetishes” (tense, reported speech)
A common approach?
• Need for a common terminology
• Need for a systematic approach in which
these terms are taught / used in MFL and
other language teaching
• Terminology list (launch)
• Link Grammar teaching at different levels
(school: MLF/EL; university: Ling/TESOL)
• / link with KS1-2 glossary
• Hudson, R. (2000) 'Grammar Teaching and Writing
Skills: The Research Evidence‘
• Cross Linguistic Approaches to Language Learning
A (mind) game
If we had a blank slate to introduce CGT into
(say) the KS3 Curriculum in a large scale,
fully embedded way, how would that look?
And what would need to be considered, from
the point of view of different parties involved
(Govt, ITT providers, School Leadership
Teams, Heads of Department, Classroom
teachers etc)?