Teacher Education for the English classroom: the role of linguistics

Gee MacroryMMUf

In the light of relatively recent curriculum changes, including the National Curriculum changes in 2013, changes at GCSE and A level, the introduction of a phonics test at age 7 and the GPS (Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar) test at the end of primary schooling, this session will consider the implications for teacher education, in terms of both subject knowledge and pedagogy. Teacher educators face the challenge of preparing teachers for the day to day reality of the classroom at the same time as enabling both student and experienced teachers to develop an informed critique of current developments.

The talks include a consideration of the place of formal grammar in primary classrooms, given the controversy that the introduction of this has caused, attempting to provide some clarity in the debate by categorising the arguments put forward by both sides in terms of their focus and the assumptions that appear to underlie them, and to explore how far they are potentially addressable by research in education and linguistics. Two talks will address the teaching of reading, in the light of current policy and practice within England which supports a phonics first approach: one will report on research into young children’s phonological awareness to consider the extent to which phonics should dominate within reading instruction, which brings into question current guidance around the teaching of phonics; a second will report on research into teachers’ understanding of reading comprehension. A fourth talk will focus on digital writing practices that see pre-adolescent boys play with language and experiment with breaking the rules of conventional writing. Finally, a talk will consider the implications of research into sociolinguistics for teacher education, asking whether more should be done to equip teachers with authentic and relevant knowledge of language variation and diversity. Central to all the talks will be the issue of what learning English means in the contemporary classroom, and what this may mean for policy and practice.

‘Fancy the fabric ere you build’: an end to the ‘grammar wars’ (Huw Bell)

Reader in Teaching and Learning, MMU

Phonemes emerge from words but are noticed by letters: implications for teacher education (Steph Ainsworth)

Senior Lecturer, Primary English, MMU

How do teachers teach and understand reading comprehension? (Karin Boyle)

Senior Lecturer, Primary English, MMU

‘My mate’s Russian so spelling doesn’t matter!’ Understanding the nature of pre-adolescent boys’ digital writing practices (Julie Scanlon)

Principal Lecturer, MMU

In defense of the non-standard: the importance of sociolinguistic awareness in teacher education (Rob Drummond)

Reader in Linguistics, MMU

Each talk will last 10 minutes, with 5 minutes for discussion.

Sat 12:45 pm - 2:00 pm