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Boivin, M.-C. (2018). A review of the current empirical research on grammar instruction in the francophone regions. Contribution to a special issue Special issue Working on Grammar at School in L1 Education: Empirical Research across Linguistic Regions. L1 Educational Studies in Language and Literature, 18, pp. 1-47. https://doi.org/10.17239/L1ESLL-2018.18.04.03

This paper presents the main trends and results of the empirical research on grammar instruction across the “francophonie” for the 2005-2016 period. In addition to fostering writing and reading abilities in pupils, grammar instruction in the francophone world aims at giving pupils a metalinguistic knowledge of the working of the French language. From a methodological point of view, one key feature of recent research is the importance of direct observations in the classroom, both for the teachers’ and the pupils’ work. The research topics reveal a new interest in the teachers’ work, notably the beginning teachers and a focus on everyday practices. Grammar instruction is very present in the francophonie and some of its notable features include the presence of mixed contents (traditional and new grammar), notional economy, and a strong separation between the study of grammatical “rules” and their applications in exercises or texts. While insisting on the fact that grammatical knowledge learned by pupils first will be partial, transitory and instable before it is more complete and stable, the experimentation of innovative teaching methods has shown promising results for the acquisition of new knowledge (heuristic approach) and for the stabilization of knowledge (innovative dictations). The fragility of both experienced and beginning teachers’ grammatical knowledge, notably in syntax, is a recurrent finding. On the pupils’ side, there is a renewed interest in the pupils’ ordinary work and their ability to do grammar. Recent research has shown a correlation between explicit grammatical knowledge and successful grammatical spelling; performances in writing are declining, and the use of more detailed criteria for the analysis of pupils’ text reveal that a large part of the errors are linked to syntax.

Citation

Authors Marie-Claude Boivin
Publication date 2018-01-04
DOI 10.17239/L1ESLL-2018.18.04.03
Collection Special issue 'Working on grammar at school in L1 education: Empirical research across linguistic regions'
Keywords
empirical research
French L1
grammar instruction
review of literature
Documents
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