Children's acquisition and application of explicit grammar in their writing

Collier, Mark (2009) Children's acquisition and application of explicit grammar in their writing. PhD thesis, University of Gloucestershire.

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Abstract

The aim of the study was to investigate children's acquisition and application of explicit grammar in their writing. The research explored the extent of any effect of explicit teaching of written grammar and the use of teaching strategies to facilitate progression in children's learning of grammar and implementation of grammatical skills. There are conflicting views in literature over the value of the explicit teaching of written grammar and this study provides further insight into this aspect of education. The investigation took place in an independent school, in a class of fourteen children aged six and seven of mixed gender and attainment. There is uncertainty about making generalisations from the findings of a study based solely on a small class of six and seven year old children. The research used a qualitative approach to explore the reasoning and justification that supported children's grammatical decisions. A small amount of quantitative data was used to validate the analysis of children's written grammar. The research method involved a case study of teaching grammar within one class. Practitioner inquiry supported the case study method because the research involved carrying out systematic enquiry relevant to my role as a class teacher. An action research model was designed to provide a structured, sequential process and opportunities for reflection. One of the principal methods of data collection was informal interviews in the form of on-task discussions. This approach enabled metacognition to be investigated, which formed part of the shared writing approach within the constructivist pedagogy adopted within the classroom. The study found no evidence of any connection between the children's ability to identify grammatical features and an ability to select words that give variety and precision to their writing. Furthermore, there was little evidence to support the children's use of metacognition with regard to their written grammar. However, there was evidence of the use of collaboration to facilitate the application of implicit grammatical knowledge and evidence of the components of a shared writing strategy working together to have an effect on the children's word selection. It was found that the children's application of implicit knowledge was constrained by their cognitive development. The gap between children's receptive oral grammar and their communicative oral grammar at ages six and seven hindered the collection of data in respect of their thought processes with regard to their grammatical decisions. The study contributed to knowledge by illuminating how these children aged six and seven acquire and apply written grammar. Moreover, the research contributed to a wider and deeper appreciation of the children's thought processes in respect of written grammar and learning for meaning. The effectiveness of different teaching strategies was investigated to an extent where it was possible to explore how they contribute to the children's knowledge, understanding and skills in respect of written grammar. Further research into maturation, metacognition, reading, and the transfer of learning from a collaborative activity to individual work will enhance the understanding of how children acquire and apply written grammar.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Related URLs:
Subjects: L Education > L Education (General)
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB1501 Primary Education
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Education & Humanities > Education
Depositing User: Anne Pengelly
Date Deposited: 27 Apr 2022 15:45
Last Modified: 27 Apr 2022 15:45
URI: https://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/10973

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