Grammar in schools: politics, policies and pedagogies
Call for Papers: Special Issue
Deadline: 3rd Feb 2021
Grammar in schools has a long and complex history associated with a broad range of policies and pedagogies, and typically bound up with politics and top-down interventions. Recent debates have focused on the values and affordances of different pedagogical approaches as well as the ways in which grammar has been positioned and framed within curriculum policy. This special issue comes at a time where such pedagogies and policies continue to be developed and contested amidst a complex culture of high stakes testing in schools, criticisms of current curricula and policy, new innovations in pedagogical grammars, ongoing concerns about teachers’ linguistic knowledge and polarized discourses about language ideologies and language use in the classroom. These issues are not confined to the UK, and we particularly welcome submissions from around the world to contribute to the debate. Whilst we are interested in original research-based articles, we are open to submissions which use a variety of data, methods, theoretical frameworks and analytical approaches. Furthermore, we take the meanings of ‘grammar’ and ‘language’ in their broadest sense: words, clause, discourse, patterns, meaning, creativity, criticality and interaction.
After many years of dispute about the place of grammar in the school curriculum, the value and importance of language study as part of English education is generally accepted and celebrated by teachers and academics. However, many issues of validity and appropriateness remain, which this special issue seeks to address. Current issues within grammar policies, pedagogies and politics present potential contributors with a broad range of questions that they might consider exploring, and a host of ways in which they might do so. What ideologies about grammar are found within policy, and how might this impact upon pedagogical choices? What recent innovations in grammar pedagogies have been made, and what do they look like? Why are debates about grammar often cyclical, and how might we move beyond this? How can theoretical grammatical frameworks be adapted into grammar pedagogies, and what do they offer to teachers and students? How do schools approach the teaching of grammatical variation? How do schools develop and implement a language policy for the teaching of grammar? What are students’ experiences of grammar pedagogies? How can grammatical knowledge be assessed? How does the teaching and learning and grammar sit alongside other aspects of the English curriculum? What role does explicit metalinguistic knowledge play in the teaching and learning of reading, writing and speaking? What parallels and differences are there in terms of grammar pedagogies and policies across different schools, educational spaces, contexts and countries?
The aim of the special issue is to offer a critical reflection on grammar policies and pedagogies, with a particular emphasis on how teachers might navigate current educational spaces given the nature and degree of political interference which has characterised recent discourses within English education. Explicit links between grammar pedagogies and policies are encouraged. Ultimately, we hope that the special issue will offer readers a critical yet constructive range of articles which have real implications for pedagogical developments and policy making, with the aim of contributing to debates about grammar in a positive way.