Teacher knowledge of grammar in the primary school
Dean, Geoffrey Brian
Thesis or dissertation
University of Exeter
Abstract This thesis presents an investigation of the beliefs, personal epistemologies and knowledge held by 8 teachers of primary age pupils in Years 5 and 6 about the teaching of grammar, and whether learning grammar brings about an improvement in writing. The study was divided into three parts. In the first phase the teachers were interviewed about their knowledge and understanding of grammar before being taught an unfamiliar grammar programme to be administered to their classes. They were each filmed teaching a grammar-based lesson. After nine months the teachers were interviewed once more and a further grammar-based lesson was filmed. Fifteen months after the start of the project they were interviewed and filmed for a final time. The semi-structured interviews were designed to elicit their espoused changing attitudes to grammar teaching and to trace any increases in grammar knowledge over the period of the research. The filmed lessons enabled comparisons to be made between the teachers’ claims relating to their changing knowledge and pedagogies and what was actually evidenced in lessons. Interview answers were initially inductively open coded and then subjected to axial coding, leading to the identification of four main themes on which the findings have been based: subject knowledge; personal epistemologies; teacher pedagogies and pupil progress. This study is important as it is concerned with what primary teachers know about, and their epistemological positions relating to, the teaching of grammar at an unprecedented time in English education, when they must all include the teaching of grammar in their curriculum for the first time.
PhD in Education