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English graduate with weak subject knowledge.

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by misscanarian80, Oct 31, 2017.

  1. misscanarian80

    misscanarian80 New commenter

    Hello there,

    I am really hoping somebody can give me some advice please.

    I graduated this year with a First in English and I even won the English Program Prize for excellence in my research. My degree was very Literature heavy, so knowing my grammar was poor and my knowledge of 'English Language' was weaker, I purposely elected to study the language based modules, yet it has had little effect. I am an English graduate who still doesn't know the rules and intricacies of English!

    I am currently in the first phase of my Secondary English PGCE, and I am ashamed to say that many of the students have a better understanding of grammar and language than I do! I am a mature graduate, so the KS2 Glossary has only been a recent admission to my knowledge bank. Furthermore, I did not sit A-Level English. I completed a Level 3 Diploma to gain my place at Uni, so I have little working knowledge of grammar and language at KS3, 4 and beyond.

    In order to try and plug the gaps I am constantly revising. I use the BBC's GCSE Bitesize and Grammar Monster but it is taking a huge amount of effort for it all to sink in. I feel so stressed out about it and I am concerned my inability to be proficient in these areas will impact on my students' progress more than anything!

    Can any of you suggest anything to help?
  2. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Please do not worry. Take it in small steps and learn an area at a time. A lot of it is learning the terminology and once you know the parts and what they are called, then it starts to make sense. English language is a broad field. Don't try to learn it all at once. Your writing is fluent, so don't worry.

    Another good resource is English Grammar for Dummies and also a web site called Grammar Bytes.

    You were accepted onto the course so you must have been good enough, so don't worry.
  3. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    Don't worry about it - KS2 and 3 content doesn't feature in university degrees because a lot of it is meaningless and newly invented - so Y7 kids may know what a fronted adverbial is, but they can't tell you how many tenses we have in English. o_O Which one of these things is more useful, hmmmm?

    As for remembering things - it's taken me about 2 years to remember which is a compound sentence, and which a complex sentence. There are lots of great resources out there (look on Tes) such as lists of grammar terms, language terms, structure terms... so why not give some of them to the kids and have them take responsibility for their own learning, so if they ask you 'Is this x or y?' you can direct them to the handout that's stuck in their book from last lesson.

    Also, instead of worrying about the KS2 list I'd focus on the KS4 curriculum if I were you - that's the stuff they need embedding at KS3.
  4. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Excellent advice BSD.
    Shedman and blueskydreaming like this.
  5. misscanarian80

    misscanarian80 New commenter

    Thank you both so very much for your words of wisdom, and reassurance! It is honestly keeping me up at night!

    I am trying to absorb as much as I can but you are right: I need to relax and stop trying to cram it all in. It is hard though because I feel totally dumb around my colleagues, who have so much experience, and are all so good at it.

    I really wish I was a natural grammarian - if this is even a word!

    Thank you for the links - I will have a look at these. As for KS4 curriculum, I am eating, sleeping and breathing it at the moment! That and the Teacher Standards!

    Again, huge thanks
    pepper5 and blueskydreaming like this.
  6. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    You are welcome and you will be absolutely fine. Don't compare yourself to others - remember younare just starting out.
  7. Teacher-in-Training42

    Teacher-in-Training42 New commenter

    I agree
    pepper5 likes this.
  8. AngelEd22

    AngelEd22 New commenter

    If you want to practice your grammar, then I recommend English Grammar in Use by Ray Murphy. It is widely used in ESOL lessons and it explains all the rules that you need to know and there are exercises if you need to practice. If you need a good English Language textbook that is aimed at degree level, then get The Frameworks of English by Kim Ballard. That book got me through my exams!
    pepper5 likes this.
  9. bg31rr

    bg31rr New commenter

    I would also recommend David Crystal's books on grammar.

    I would say focus on sentence construction, word types and basic language techniques first e.g. simile, adverb, verb, metaphor etc. but I suppose that depends on the school you are in and their specs.
    pepper5 likes this.

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