Teaching grammar: What does it look and sound like?

In thinking about the look and sound of grammar in classrooms, the key word is meaning. For some, grammar can be viewed as threatening and onerous, even boring, but it can just as easily be a wonderful tool to support conversations about how we can decide to make meaning in various modes. It is the talk about language, that can be engaging and empowering for both teachers and students (Myhill, 2021 and Rossbridge & Rushton, 2015).  In working with time poor teachers, I often think about where to start with professional learning about grammar. The first place to start is with context and how the context and purpose impacts upon language features selected by a speaker, writer, designer, artist etc.

By exploring real-world examples like recipes, stories, advertisements, or social media posts, students can see how grammar functions differently depending on the situation. Take a recipe, for instance. The way ingredients and instructions are structured reflects not only the...

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Test preparation or curriculum implementation: Persuasive writing to value student voice

As the new school year begins and teachers are faced with NAPLAN occurring earlier than in previous years, we start to play the guessing game of what type of text students will be required to write. The bets on persuasive or imaginative writing have already started!

Carter (2017) discusses how ‘attention is effectively diverted from curriculum implementation’ through the emphasis on systemic testing. If your bets are on a particular type of writing, it is easy to succumb to the pressure, however, it is also a chance to embrace and use the situation to not only prepare for the test but more importantly focus on rich, engaging curriculum implementation by embedding your writing focus into not only English but also other subject area units.

As with any focus on writing, the most important aspect when planning is to consider the context for writing. The more authentic and meaningful, the better for engaging students. Who would want to write a persuasive text if there is no...

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