Choice and Control: Improving Writing Through Embedded Attention to Grammar

In partnership with the National Association for the Teaching of English (NATE), we have now been awarded funding by the Education Endowment Foundation to undertake a project to explore whether embedding a meaningful fous on grammar within the teaching of writing is successful for writers who are both socially disadvantaged and currently under-achieving in writing.  In this project, we will be working with year 6 classes, targeting students who have Free School Meals and are achieving Level 3 or borderline Level 4 in writing.   The University of Exeter team will prepare a four week unit of work for year 6 addressing the teaching of story writing, in which grammar points relevant to story writing are embedded.  In addition, we will be preparing Guided Writing sessions for use with the FSM target group in the class, and out-of class group interventions with the FSM group which build on the learning in the unit of work and which build on the identified needs of low-attaining FSM writers.  The interventions will draw on our earlier research into contextualised grammar teaching, where the teaching focus is on effects and constructing meanings, not on the grammatical terminology: building on the concept of writing as design (Sharples 1999, Myhill 2010), the goal is to open up what we have called ‘a repertoire of possibilities’, rather than to suggest correct or formulaic ways of writing.

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