Grammar teaching in Finland

  • Nupponen, A-M, S Jeskanen & Kaisu Rättyä. 2019. Finnish student language teachers reflecting on linguistic concepts related to sentence structures: Students recognising linguistic concepts in L1 and L2 textbooks. Contribution to a special issue What is Grammar in L1 Education Today? (Ed.) Kaisu Rättyä, Elżbieta Awramiuk & Xavier Fontich. L1-Educational Studies in Language and Literature 19. 1–25. doi:
    • Abstract: In this article, we report on a two-part qualitative case study on Finnish student language teachers’ views of linguistic concepts related to teaching sentence structures and their ability to recognise linguistic concepts in mother tongue and foreign language textbooks. In addition, our aim is to gain experience of collaboration between mother tongue and foreign language students. The current Finnish National Core Curriculum for Basic Education (2014, translated 2016) emphasises language awareness, including linguistic and cross-linguistic awareness. Language education requires L1 and L2 teachers to co-operate, and it is important for teachers to gain experience of such co-operation already during their pedagogical studies.
      The focus of our study is on student language teachers’ ability to recognise linguistic concepts in mother tongue and foreign language textbooks. The informants are mother tongue (Finnish) and foreign language students (studying English, Swedish, German, and Russian). The study found that the students were able to find syntactic and morphological concepts in particular. Overall, they understood language and defined “linguistic concepts” from a grammatical point of view; and a functional approach to learning a language stood out. In the textbooks, the students found both similarities and differences in using linguistic concepts related to sentence structures. Overall, co-operation between L1 and L2 teachers was considered important.
  • Rättyä, Kaisu. 2013. Languaging and Visualisation Method for Grammar Teaching: A Conceptual Change Theory Perspective. English Teaching: Practice and Critique 12. 87–101
    • Abstract: Conceptual grammatical knowledge is an area which causes problems at different levels of education. This article examines the ideas of conceptual change theory as a basis for establishing a new grammar teaching method. The research strategy which I use is educational design research and the research data have been collected from teacher students in two Finnish universities in 2011-2013. When learning the concepts of grammar, problems appear in the form of reduced definitions of concepts and misuse or mixing of different grammatical categories. The languaging and visualisation method induces learners to make the meanings clear and express their grammatical thinking through different modes: speaking, writing and drawing. The categories of grammatical concepts are made visible by charts and hierarchies, which helps students to apprehend the ontological differences between the categories. By following students’ languaging processes, a teacher gains a deeper understanding of their conceptual grammatical knowledge.
    • Comment: This research is part of a PhD based on five published articles.
    • Comment: Its focus is on how to achieve a deep understanding of grammar – in contrast with all the research about whether or not grammar is useful.

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