I teach, therefore I am.
There has been a lot of Twitter discussion recently about the explicit teaching of grammar. As someone who was initially concerned about the implications of grammar teaching, I have come to see how it can be taught in a way that is not only valuable but also quite wonderful. This change of heart was a consequence of my involvement in Debra Myhill and Helen Lines’ Grammar For Writing 2012 research project. Working with them to design a scheme of work which taught my pupils grammar for effect, was a defining moment of my first few years in teaching; I think that I learned as much as the students in my class.
A number of English teachers have recently expressed interest in the project, so I thought I would upload some of the material from the scheme I created, which was a unit of work on creative writing in the action/adventure genre. Students were assessed by comparing a piece of creative writing at the beginning of the project with a final creative writing piece after completing the unit of work; they also wrote commentaries on their specific use of grammar for effect. We started with a focus on graphic novels, which opened my mind to the potential of these texts to teach grammatical points such as sentence structure, punctuation and paragraphing. We went onto look at a wide range of texts as well as completing creative drama and writing exercises (one of the key components of the project was an aim to employ creative teaching techniques within the scheme).
I include the presentation that I made on the project after it had ended, including before and after examples of student work, as well as the PDF from the lessons themselves: Grammar For Writing Scheme. It’s more rough and ready than my usual blog posts but hopefully still useful. Get in touch if you would like to know more!