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Discussion in 'Modern foreign languages' started by gianfrancoconti1966, Dec 27, 2015.
I found some of that quite shocking - can't imagine how people have completed a degree with a language component and are unable to identify basic parts of speech, for instance.
That said, I have found that through teacher training and my first couple of years teaching, I have developed my subject knowledge a lot when it comes to the basics (which weren't talked about at A-Level/university because they were the basics...). For example, I hadn't consciously thought about articles before (eg: when to use definite and partitive or not using articles after negatives and quantities) although I think I probably got them right most of the time.
I definitely think there has been a shift back towards grammar since my own school days. I was not taught grammar in school - just the 1st person form of various verbs to be able to parrot them in the speaking exam and in coursework. I taught myself to conjugate verbs in German because I learnt French privately (with a native speaker who did emphasise grammar) and felt this was something I needed to be able to do. My lack of grammatical knowledge ultimately caused me to drop German as I lacked confidence when I did my AS Level course at college and found myself surrounded by people who had been taught grammar in their schools.
I think everyone in my department currently teaches grammar explicitly (to varying degrees with different groups and at different stages in the course) and pupils are showing gains in their knowledge. For example, I know with my middle set Y9 I can say "you're missing an auxiliary there" or "you've used a past participle when it should be an infinitive" and most can then put it right because they know what I'm on about. The difficulty is getting them to internalise this so they either get it right or spot their own mistakes, and I'm not sure what the answer is for that, other than a lot more practice (which hopefully there'll be some time for, now we won't be wasting weeks of teaching time on Controlled Assessments).
I was educated in the 70's. I learnt much of my grammar during two years of learning Latin. I often spend time teaching English grammar - pronoun, verb, adverb, etc. It doesn't help that English is so badly taught and all children know after primary school is what a noun and an adjective is. Even then they cannot identify them correctly in a sentence. Frankly I would also ban the term connective it doesn't really help anyone.