LOT Summer School 2018

Researching the Grammar-Writing Relationship

Debra Myhill



Title of the course

Researching the Grammar-Writing Relationship


Intermediate / Advanced

Course description

This course will look closely at the grammar-writing relationship and different ways of conceptualizing this in the context of learning and teaching writing. It will consider the contested nature of grammar in education in many Anglophone countries, in contrast to grammar’s status elsewhere, and will draw attention to the ‘theoretical muddle’ that has historically characterized this issue. Drawing on a functionally-oriented theorization of grammar as a meaning-making resource, we will look at the concept of metalinguistic understanding in writing, and how authentic texts offer rich models of linguistic possibilities and how talk is a critical tool for fostering metalinguistic understanding.

Day-to-day program

Monday: The Grammar Problem: Theory and Practice

Tuesday: Theorising Grammar as a Resource for Writing

Wednesday: What texts tell us and what texts teach us

Thursday: Metalinguistic Understanding in Writing

Friday: Researching Metalinguistic Understanding: Problems and Possibilities

Reading list

Background and preparatory readings:

Klingelhofer, R. R., and Schleppegrell, M. (2016) Functional grammar analysis in support of dialogic instruction with text: scaffolding purposeful, cumulative dialogue with English learners. Research Papers in Education, 31(1), 70-88.

Macken-Horarik, M., Sandiford, C., Love, K., and Unsworth, L. (2015) New ways of working ‘with grammar in mind’ in School English: Insights from systemic functional grammatics. Linguistics and Education, 31, 145-158.

Jones, S.M. Myhill, D.A. and Bailey, T.C. (2013) Grammar for Writing? An investigation into the effect of Contextualised Grammar Teaching on Student Writing. Reading and Writing 26 (8) 1241-1263 http://dx.doi.org/0.1007/s11145-012-9416-1

Myhill, D. Jones, S. & Wilson, A. (2016) Writing conversations: fostering metalinguistic discussion about writing, Research Papers in Education, 31:1, 23-44, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/02671522.2016.1106694

Course readings:

Lecture 1:
Myhill, D. and Watson, A. (2014) The role of grammar in the writing curriculum: A review of the Literature Child Language Teaching and Therapy 2014, Vol. 30 (1) 41–62 http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0265659013514070
Hudson R (2004) Why education needs linguistics. Journal of Linguistics 40: 105–30.
Andrews, R., Torgerson, C., Beverton, S., Freeman,A., Locke, T.,Low, G., Robinson, A., and Zhu, D. (2006). The effect of grammar teaching on writing development. British Educational Research Journal, 32(1), 39-55.

Lecture 2:
Myhill, D. (2018) Grammar as a meaning-making resource for improving writing. Contribution to a special issue Working on Grammar at School in L1-Education: Empirical Research across Linguistic Regions. L1-Educational Studies in Language and Literature, 18, pp. 1-21. https://doi.org/10.17239/L1ESLL-2018.18.04.04
Derewianka B and Jones P (2010) From traditional to grammar to functional grammar: Bridging the divide. Special Issue of NALDIC Quarterly: 6–15.
Macken-Horarik M, Love K, and Unsworth L (2011) A grammatics ‘good enough’ for school English in the 21st century: Four challenges in realising the potential. Australian Journal of Language and Literacy 34: 9–23.

Lecture 3:
Freebody P, Maton K, and Martin J. (2008) Talk, text, and knowledge in cumulative, integrated learning: A response to ‘intellectual challenge’. Australian Journal of Language and Literacy 31: 188–201.
Allison, P. Beard, R., and Willcocks, J. (2002) Subordination in Children's Writing. Language in Education. 16(2): 97-111.
Myhill, D.A. (2009) Becoming a Designer: Trajectories of Linguistic Development in R. Beard, D. Myhill J Riley and M. Nystrand (eds) The Sage Handbook of Writing Development London: SAGE pp402-414

Lecture 4:
Myhill, D. and Jones, S. (2015) Conceptualizing metalinguistic understanding in writing Cultura y Educación, 27:4, 839-867. http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/11356405.2015.1089387
Myhill, D. and Newman, R. (2016) Metatalk: Enabling metalinguistic discussion about writing International Journal of Educational Research 80 (2016) 177–187 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijer.2016.07.007

Lecture 5:
Chen, H. and Myhill, D. (2016) Children talking about writing: Investigating metalinguistic understanding Linguistics and Education 35 (2016) 100–108 http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.linged.2016.07.004
Gillies, R. 2015 “Dialogic Interactions in the Cooperative Classroom.” International Journal of Educational Research. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ijer.2015.02.009