More than just grammar - Education Matters Magazine

More than just grammar

The lifelong work of a teacher fascinated by language, learning, linguistics, neuroscience and assessment, Gramatica aims to reverse the age-old dislike of grammar and instead re-makes it into something altogether innovative, simple, relevant and fun.

Imagine a school where both teachers and students are empowered, decisive and knowledgeable writers, where everyone speaks the same grammar and writing language, and everyone knows how to assess grammar and writing, their own and others’.

How does it work?
Gramatica combines writing and grammar into a single, holistic area. It trains students to focus their attention firstly onto the writing task. What do they need or want to write about? Do they want to write an action story or a persuasive text, a fantasy epic or a list of instructions? This first part is easy.

Having established this, they then consider what grammar tools they need, and Gramatica provides this grammatical knowledge with clear, visual structure and simple language that everyone understands, from the youngest pre-primary student to senior students.

Writing has always had a reason, but grammar has tended to be taught in isolation and viewed as rather unnecessary and boring. In linking the two, Gramatica gives grammar a reason. Now it becomes the road to achievement and success, both at school and for life.

What does it include?
Gramatica includes the entire learning journey from teacher training to student assessment. It sets the end learning goal and shows students how to reach it. Along the way, it shows students how to formatively assess their own work using reliable, visual learning cards, and gives both teachers and students the metalanguage they need to do so.

On what research and evidence is it based?
A great deal: the combined knowledge of many years of lecturing undergraduate and postgraduate B.Ed students at ECU, teaching ESL to adults, writing a novel and getting it published, and reading extensively about language, alphabets and linguistics. Gramatica is based on the neuroscience of Zadina, Zull and others, the pedagogy and assessment of Hattie, Wiliam, Timperley, Allen and Readman and others, and the far-reaching implications of Bloom’s Taxonomy.

Who benefits?
Everyone. Students become empowered, confident, decisive writers, teachers gain the knowledge of grammar they have often lacked, and the whole school gains a common, simple language for both teaching and assessing grammar and writing.

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