"I can tell a story that my dads friend tell me" : A corpus- and interview-based study on grammar education, with focus on verb forms.

University essay from Uppsala universitet/Institutionen för pedagogik, didaktik och utbildningsstudier; Uppsala universitet/Institutionen för pedagogik, didaktik och utbildningsstudier

Abstract:

This study consists of two methods: textual analysis and interviews, which are based on text from The Uppsala Learner English Corpus (ULEC), and teachers as interview objects. The textual analysis investigates errors made by students in year seven and year nine, regarding the construction of different verb forms in written English essays. A potential difference between errors made in year seven and nine is also examined. Moreover, the interview based analysis investigates professional junior high school teachers’ teaching methods and attitudes towards grammar. The errors investigated in the textual analysis are compared with the responses of the teachers’ perception of common errors in verb forms made by their students.

   The textual analysis showed that the most common errors made regard spelling within the verb phrase, auxiliary verbs, subject-verb agreement, and irregular verbs, and that year seven had a higher frequency of errors than year nine in most categories, even if the results differed inconsiderably.

   The analysis of the interviews of the teachers found that teachers, in general, enjoy grammar, and aim to have a student-centered approach, however, the teachers testify of characteristics of traditional teacher-centered grammar teaching. It is reasoned that traditional teacher-centered grammar teaching is fundamentally established, where teachers today appear not to acquire the tools to move away from the teacher-centered approach onwards to a student-centered grammar teaching.

   We reason that the education of L2 teachers needs to be reformed and provide tools to help teachers achieve a student-centered approach, and therein enable students to become more successful in grammar.

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