Having spent six formative years working for Michael Halliday, I am keen to see more linguistics in schools, whatever we call it – ‘Knowledge About Language’, `Language Awareness’, `English Language’ or even `Linguistics’! I have written a book and numerous papers about education (mostly about grammar), and more recently I’ve given a number of talks about language education and have even contributed to the Language Log.
I’m proud to have helped to set up and run three ongoing organisations for promoting linguistics in language education:
- I am a founder-member of CLIE (the Committee for Linguistics in Education).
- I am a founder-member of the LAGB Education Committee.
- I am a founder-member and currently Chair of the committee for the UK Linguistics Olympiad.
My web-site contains a number of relevant information pages:
- A survey of research on the effects of grammar teaching on writing (and other skills)
- (with Geoff Dean) A website about grammar teaching: Teaching grammar.
- 20K words about grammar teaching.
- (2011) A ‘benchmarking statement’ on degrees in English Language.
- A page about the low research status of language in UK universities’ ‘language’ departments.
- A page about diagramming systems used in teaching grammar in schools.
- A page of statistical trends in the language education of England (or the UK)
- A page about a series of tests of undergraduates’ knowledge about grammar.
- A collection of historical material on how English was taught in the past
- A page about the extremes of multilingualism (2007)
- About the world record for the number of languages spoken by individuals and by entire communities.
- A-level in Linguistics (2006)
- A summary of progress so far in developing a new school-level course in linguistics.
- Grammar in the Secondary National Strategy (2005)
- A large commentary on the approach to grammar teaching which has been adopted in the Secondary National Strategy (formerly the English strand of the KS3 Strategy, extending the primary-level National Literacy Strategy).
- KS3 grammar (2003)
- A large collection of pages full of basic grammar for secondary (Years 7-9) teachers of English, with some self-test exercises and links to the UK National Curriculum.
- A weekly grammar column for school teachers (2002-5)
- A collection of short (450-word) pieces about elementary grammar, called “The writer’s tool-kit”, which I co-wrote with Geoff Barton (a school teacher) for two years. They appeared every week (of term-time) in the Times Educational Supplement.
- Linguistics at school.
- The handout for a discussion at the LAGB of various recent developments in UK schools which have made our schools much more receptive to linguistics, with guides to available material and suggestions for ways in which linguists can help. I update this occasionally but I can’t keep up with all the changes!
- Careers in teaching for linguistics (and other language) graduates
- A guide to the options and procedures for becoming a teacher of first or second language at different age levels. Includes a list of colleges or departments of education which will accept Linguistics graduates on PGCE courses for secondary English teaching.
- Lagb fact sheets
- This is a resource for the general public, and particularly for school teachers, where LAGB members have contributed either specially-written ‘fact sheets’ or links to existing web sites. As of 2001 it is still in a very embryonic stage, but I hope it will grow.
- A definition of Applied Linguistics
- A half-page definition of Applied Linguistics produced in 1998 on the basis of a brief survey of views among readers of the UK mailing list for applied linguists.
- Does grammar teaching improve writing?
- This is a brief survey of the published research into the effects of explicit grammar teaching on learners’ writing skills. For some decades the received wisdom has been that it has no effect, or even a harmful effect, but this view rests on a small number of research projects and ignores a large number of other projects which have shown the opposite.
- A number of articles about educational topics
- A collection of topics successfully completed as A-level English Language projects
- A summary of facts and figures regarding A-level English language as of October 2003 (supplemented by more recent figures).
- A talk: “Grammar for Writing” (and full text) presented at an ESRC-funded workshop at the University of Exeter in May 2004.
- A talk: “Literacy, Language-learning and Linguistics”, presented at a conference organised by the Subject Centre for Languages, Linguistics and Area Studies and CILT in June 2004.
- A talk: “Linguistics at School” given at Lancaster in December 2005.
For other educational resources, check the following:
- Education on the Internet – a very large and helpfully annotated directory of resources for teachers, including English teachers. Paired with a monthly newsletter listing recent innovations.
- VISL – an ambitious and largely successful web site in Denmark for teaching grammar (of English or a dozen other languages!) by IT. Zap adverbs or test the (not infallible) computer’s grammatical analyses.
- Language education in the news – a daily collection of media reports on UK language education.