Exploring primary and secondary students’ experiences of grammar teaching and testing in England

CUSHING, I. and HELKS, Marie (2021). Exploring primary and secondary students’ experiences of grammar teaching and testing in England. English in Education, 55 (3), 239-250.

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Official URL: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/04250...
Open Access URL: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/pdf/10.1080/042504... (Published version)
Link to published version:: https://doi.org/10.1080/04250494.2021.1898282


This article reports on data generated from focus groups held with primary and secondary school students in which they were asked about experiences of grammar teaching and testing in the context of post-2010 reforms in England. Data from these focus groups were triangulated with a bricolage of other data, including fieldnotes, teacher surveys, pedagogical materials and government-produced policy documents. Our findings show that, in spite of differences within primary-secondary policy, students’ perceptions of their experiences had significant elements of commonality. Students’ conceptualisations of grammar were focused on word and clause-level notions, generally rejecting the idea that grammar was associated with meaning, creativity and choice. Students emphasised experiences of decontextualised grammar teaching, despite evidence from their teachers which espoused contextualised grammar. Finally, the state-issued primary school grammar tests were found to be working as a powerful de facto language policy, warping and distorting students’ memories and experiences of grammar.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Grammar teaching; grammar testing; student voice; 1302 Curriculum and Pedagogy
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1080/04250494.2021.1898282
Page Range: 239-250
SWORD Depositor: Symplectic Elements
Depositing User: Symplectic Elements
Date Deposited: 26 Apr 2022 15:06
Last Modified: 26 Apr 2022 15:15
URI: https://shura.shu.ac.uk/id/eprint/30123

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