Linguists and the teaching of english
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Linguists and the Teaching of English. University of Newcastle Friday 1 September 2006 Mick Connell School Improvement Adviser – English & Arts Rotherham LA QCA Principal Scrutineer - English. Key Stage 1 – Status and Practice of Phonics Teaching.

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Linguists and the teaching of english

Linguists and the Teaching of English

University of Newcastle

Friday 1 September 2006

Mick Connell

School Improvement Adviser – English & Arts

Rotherham LA

QCA Principal Scrutineer - English


Key stage 1 status and practice of phonics teaching

Key Stage 1 – Status and Practice of Phonics Teaching

  • The initial teaching of reading: the place of phonics teaching and the child’s use of phonic strategies in successful, early reading

  • Government ‘direction’ on use of synthetic phonics. Research background is famously disputed

  • Most infant teachers are practical agnostics. They know that children differ. Weary with prescriptive, ‘one size fits all’ approaches – but notoriously compliant


Key stage 2 and 3 grammar and writing development

Key Stage 2 and 3: Grammar and Writing Development

  • Issue: The place of grammar teaching and pupils’ knowledge of grammar in writing development.

  • Confusing messages. Where and when were these written?

  • i) ‘ All pupils have extensive grammatical knowledge…Teaching which focuses on grammar helps to make this knowledge explicit, extend children’s range and develop more confident and versatile language use.’

  • ii) ‘Grammar is means of enabling pupils to devote more control and choice in their use of language.’

  • iii) ‘ The teaching of the principles underlying and informing word order or syntax has virtually no impact on writing quality or accuracy.’

    Answers:

    i) ‘Grammar for Writing’ NLS 2000

    ii) Cox Report 1989

    Iii) Ofsted ‘English 2000-5 A Review of Inspection Evidence’ para 73


Key stage 2 and 3 the national strategy

Key Stage 2 and 3: The National Strategy

  • The National Literacy Strategy and The Framework of Teaching Objectives have impacted on schools and teaching:

  • Organisation of and thinking about the content of English: word, sentence, text levels

  • Introduction of a daily lesson of literacy in primary schools

  • Establishment of the orthodox 4-part lesson: starter, whole class teaching, guided/independent work, plenary

  • Teaching to objectives – ‘what to teach over the course of the year’ (Framework for Teaching English: Years 7,8 and 9)

  • Refocusing English from ‘content’ to ‘competences’


Teaching objectives

Teaching Objectives

  • The greatest challenge to teachers’ knowledge and practice has been at sentence level.

  • Sentence Level Objectives for writing are organised in four groups:

  • Sentence Construction and Punctuation

  • Paragraphing and Cohesion

  • Stylistics Conventions of Non-Fiction

  • Standard English and Language Variation


Sentence level teaching objectives year 7 writing

Sentence Level: Teaching Objectives – Year 7 Writing

  • Sentence construction and punctuation

  • ‘Pupils should be taught to extend their use and control of complex sentences by:

    a) recognising and using subordinate clauses;

    b) exploring the functions of subordinate clauses, e.g. relative clauses such as ‘which I bought’ or adverbial clauses such as ‘having finished his lunch’

    c) deploying subordinate clauses in a variety of positions within the sentence.’ (p22)


Challenge of teaching to the framework of objectives

Challenge of Teaching to the Framework of Objectives

  • Teacher knowledge and confidence

  • Interesting and engaging pupils

  • Ensuring that new learning is transferred and applied in pupils’ own writing

  • Converting ‘features’ of texts into teaching objectives

  • Some objectives describe knowledge, some strategies and others are features of written texts

  • Impact of ‘applied’ genre theory: text types, writing frames

  • Myth of a new content of English –’Grammar for Writing’ has a glossary of terms that stretches to 40 pages.


Key stage 3 and 4 two recent areas of development

Key Stage 3 and 4: Two Recent Areas of Development

  • Key Stage 3: Assessing Pupil Progress (APP)

  • Key Stage 4: GCSE English: Functional English and Flexibility


App assessing pupil progress

APP – Assessing Pupil Progress

  • Developed by QCA. Implemented by National Strategy.

  • Background

    - Work on Assessment for Learning

    - Key Stage test development and marking

    - National Literacy Strategy/NC Programmes of Study

  • Aims to provide a single, consistent and diagnostic assessment framework for assessing reading and writing at Key Stage 3 (NC Levels 306)

  • The guidance is based on the Assessment Focuses and describe progression markers in each AF (assessment strand) in reading and writing


App guidance sentence level year 7

APP – Guidance – Sentence Level – Year 7

  • Example

  • AF5 – vary sentences for clarity, purpose and effect

    Across a range of writing:

  • Level 3* and, but, so are the most common connectives

  • Level 4 * use some subordinating connectives, e.g. if, when, because

  • Level 5 * wider range of connectives used to clarify relationship between ideas, e.g. although, on the other hand, meanwhile

  • Level 6* confident use of a range of sentence features to clarify or emphasise meaning, e.g. fronted adverbials (‘Reluctantly, he ...’ , Five days later, it …’, complex noun or prepositional phrases


Gcse developments

GCSE Developments

  • 2005 QCA publish results of English 21 consultation. (Competence, Creative, Critical and Cultural strands identified)

  • Government concern about coursework and ‘functional literacy’

  • Schools and teachers concerned that English courses are too literary and unattractive to boys and lower ability pupils


Edexcel pilot english specification

Edexcel Pilot English Specification

  • Has three core or functional literacy units – speaking/listening, reading, writing – required for award of GCSE English

  • Optional Units/Modules:

    - Two Literature modules

    - 3 new modules: Spoken English Studies, Language of Digital Communication, Media


Spoken english studies

Spoken English Studies

  • Task 1 – Written analysis of Spontaneous Spoken English

  • Stage 1 – maintain written log to include examples from:

    - Here and Now

    - Over Space

    - Over Time

    ( Candidates collect examples or use archive sources, including the Edexcel Selection/Corpus of Spoken English)

  • Stage 2 – Select and transcribe three, 30 seconds-2 minute examples – one for each speech context

  • Stage 3 – Analyse the data.

  • locate/comment on features of spontaneous speech

  • show contrasts with scripted spoken language

  • Show how relationships affects language choice

  • Comment on any of: gender, class, age, region

  • Identify type and purpose(s) of utterances

  • * Task 2 - Scripting


How can linguists help

How Can Linguists Help?

  • Links/examples/evidence about relationship between pupils’ explicit grammatical

    knowledge and writing development,

  • Help clarify what constitutes progression in writing,

  • Help exemplify and evaluate active, investigative approaches to learning about language in primary school,

  • Help enable and support use of spoken language corpuses by teachers/students

  • Shed light on how linguistic knowledge/approaches can improve reading skills,

  • Attract more teachers to develop their own knowledge about language,

  • Contribute to the continuing debates:

    - What should teachers know about language/linguistics to enrich their teaching in the various phases?

    - What aspects of language/linguistic knowledge or approaches should be taught to assist progress in literacy and English?


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