Improving written English through a reflective practice approach

Year: 2007

Author: Choules, Kathryn, Lyons, Damien

Type of paper: Refereed paper

Grammar regularly makes it onto the pages of Australian newspapers as an example of ways in which 'schools are failing our children.' The public debate around grammar usage and grammar teaching means that it is a topic which pre-service teachers need to feel confident tackling: both in public debate and in the classroom. The pre-service teachers along with their lecturers had identified both grammar and reflective practice as areas that were in need of strengthening. This paper explores the public debates around the usage and teaching of traditional grammar, and identifies the social justice aspects of the teaching of grammar. It also looks at the establishment of a reflective research project designed to increase pre-service teachers' confidence in these areas and at the same time increase their lecturers' understanding of how to more effectively teach both grammar and reflection. A teaching and learning process involving final year pre-service teachers was developed, piloted and evaluated. The process involved two distinct action and reflection cycles as the students developed, implemented and reviewed a grammar lesson. The implications for teaching reflective practice and for positioning pre-service teachers as members of a profession are explored.