Grammar in the New Zealand English Curriculum: Implications for Primary School Teachers and Teacher Educators

By Jeurissen, Maree | Curriculum Matters, Annual 2010 | Go to article overview

Grammar in the New Zealand English Curriculum: Implications for Primary School Teachers and Teacher Educators


Jeurissen, Maree, Curriculum Matters


Introduction

Knowledge of grammar is one component of literacy, which is "the ability to understand, respond to, and use those forms of written language that are required by society and valued by individuals and communities" (Ministry of Education, 2003a, p. 13). In order to acquire literacy, a person needs to be able to use grammar effectively, appropriately and accurately. Moreover, knowledge of grammar enables students to reflect on how the English language works, understand how grammatical structures affect meaning and critically analyse texts (Derewianka, 1998). It follows then, that as part of their professional capability, teachers need knowledge about grammar (hereafter KAG) to identify the extent to which students are able to do this as they strive to become literate.

Literacy teaching in New Zealand has been generally well regarded by international standards (Mc Naughton, 2002). In 2006, the Programme

for International Student Assessment (PISA) results showed the mean reading literacy score for New Zealand 15-year-olds was above the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) mean, and this has not changed significantly since 2003 and 2000 (Marshall, Caygill, & May, 2008). However, there are also groups of learners, mainly Maori students and children from Pacific Islands immigrant families who make relatively poor gains in literacy, and in 2006 the PISA findings showed that these learners had lower mean literacy scores than their Pakeha/ European and Asian counterparts (Marshall et al., 2008).

In order to address this inequity in literacy achievement, Reading and Writing Standards for Years 1 to 8, commonly referred to by teachers and educators as "National Standards", have been introduced to "provide a nationally consistent means for considering, explaining, and responding to students' progress and achievement" (Ministry of Education, 2009a, p. 4). Despite widespread criticism by many teachers, principals and other education professionals, who argue that National Standards are not the way to address inequities in literacy achievement (see, for example, Middleton, 2009; "Standards and the professor", 2010), 2010 saw their introduction in all mainstream primary schools. A discussion of the debates surrounding the standards here would add neither clarity nor justification to the current argument; however, the fact that the National Standards are in schools and being implemented now gives import and some urgency to considering teacher capability in understanding the reading and writing assessment standards which, it will be illustrated, include a significant grammatical dimension.

This article, then, questions whether or not primary school teachers do have adequate KAG to teach and assess learners' ability to use grammar. As a component of literacy, grammar is both implicitly and explicitly referred to in the English area of The New Zealand Curriculum (Ministry of Education, 2007). This document, along with other recently released ministry publications intended to support literacy teaching--English Language Learning Progressions (ELLP) (Ministry of Education, 2008a, 2008b, 2008c, 2008d) and Literacy Learning Progressions (LLP) (Ministry of Education, 2010)--will be examined to illustrate the nature and extent of KAG teachers are expected to have. Finally, in the absence of any local empirical research, some overseas studies of teachers' KAG will be discussed, as these have possible implications for the New Zealand context.

Background

In my position as a lecturer, I work with practising primary and secondary teachers doing postgraduate study in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL). It is important to note that, although this is a TESOL course, most teachers work in mainstream classes that include native speakers of English and English language learners (ELLs). All course members, both mainstream and English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) teachers, are required to identify the specific language demands of curriculum tasks undertaken by their students. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Grammar in the New Zealand English Curriculum: Implications for Primary School Teachers and Teacher Educators
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.