Supporting student growth in syntactical fluency as writers: A paired learning approach
Barrett, S. J. (2013). Supporting student growth in syntactical fluency as writers: A paired learning approach (Thesis, Master of Education (MEd)). University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/7846
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/7846
The widespread belief that the traditional teaching of grammar is ineffective in enhancing student writing has contributed to a reduction in the teaching of formal grammar in the New Zealand English curriculum. At the same time and perhaps as a consequence students have little understanding about how language functions and what is needed to communicate effectively in writing. There has been widespread debate about the role grammar might play in enhancing writing effectiveness. This thesis will present the results of an intervention-centred inquiry involving the introduction of syntax in the context of teaching writing. The purpose of the research was to examine whether the teaching of syntactical concepts and structures at point of need enhanced students' writing, and how pairs, writing their stories alongside each other, might be utilised to provide productive, formative feedback. Pre- and post-intervention writing was collected as well as a questionnaire and attitudinal survey data on grammatical knowledge and writing confidence. Students subsequently worked on writing a narrative utilising the grammatical features taught during class activities. Over an eight-week period, teacher interventions included 'incidental' grammar lessons, inductive lessons where students were guided to notice grammatical patterns, conferencing together over problems, and mini-lessons that involved applying a strategy in the writing pairs. The results indicate significant improvement in areas of fluency and syntactical sophistication.
University of Waikato
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