Date of Award

1-1-2013

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Department

Educational Leadership and Policies

Sub-Department

Curriculum and Instruction

First Advisor

Rhonda Jeffries

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to use qualitative research methods to identify which methods a group of language arts teachers from a suburban high school use to teach grammar and why. Specific research questions included:

1. How do teachers who were educated with grammar as an isolated curricular unit perceive the current debate on language instruction? How do their perceptions impact their classroom instructional practice?

2. How do teachers who were educated with grammar as a whole language curricular unit perceive the current debate on language instruction? How do their perceptions impact their classroom instructional practice?

This study examined two different theories of grammar instruction and method within each of those theories. The more progressive methods included Daily Oral Grammar, Daily Grammar Practice and teaching grammar through literature and writing. The more essential method that some teachers prefer is direct instruction, or isolated units. The study was significant in light of research detailing college professors' and employers' frustrations with students and employees who do not use "Standard American English." It was also significant because of the researchers' experiences with colleagues comfort level teaching grammar and how state standards affected their teaching. This problem has wide implications for students going into the job world.

Some of the internal factors that influence which method teachers choose to teach grammar include comfort level with the topic and their own feelings about what students need to know. Some of the external factors were national, district, and school mandates, and resources available to the teachers, including training.

I took a qualitative approach in this comparative case study with the intention of

using language arts teachers and what their opinions and daily practices are when teaching grammar. I received information from fifteen teachers and did specific case studies on six of them.

Methods included semi-structured interviews with the six teachers after all fifteen took a survey.

I charted the survey data and chose to interview and observe teachers who fit within the realm of my research questions. Through

analysis, a number common themes emerged such as lack of sufficient teacher training in grammar instruction, lack of enforcement or accountability by school, district, or state, and the time needed to do an adequate job of grammar instruction. These themes may help to develop staff development sessions for teachers in our school, or perhaps even our district.

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