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Fostering Metalinguistic Awareness in a Grammarless Curriculum

Thomasson, Jessica (2015) Fostering Metalinguistic Awareness in a Grammarless Curriculum. Masters thesis, Radford University.

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Abstract

This thesis explores the methods and effects of instruction which fosters metalinguistic awareness (the ability to reflect upon the nature and use of language and utilize a metalanguage during its exploration) and how the fostering of such awareness helps students learn to read and write. While traditional grammar instruction often provided categories and labels with which to identify the form and function of words and phrases in a sentence, this instruction was often decontextualized and consisted of rote memorization, worksheets, or sentence diagramming, rendering “grammar” a frustrating and inconsequential subject for students to learn. However, contextualized approaches to grammar instruction allow students to engage with the material and recognize it as a valuable tool in reading comprehension and in the development of composition skills; these approaches help students comprehend challenging grammatical constructions in literature, allow students to understand the social consequences and rhetorical effects of their use of language in their own writing and speech, and provide students with a vocabulary which they can use to analyze and manipulate the structures of language. The methods and goals of grammar instruction vary widely as the controversial debate about its usefulness continues to rage. In addition, many educators do not feel the need to teach students the labels and categories of traditional grammar, while others maintain the usefulness of a shared metalanguage between student and teacher for the improvement of writing. Utilizing a metalanguage in the instruction of English/Language Arts is vital for student understanding of the meaning-making role of grammar, as well as its value as a problem-solving tool for overcoming specific language obstacles. Teaching students to think and talk about language can also foster higher-order thinking skills when examining and interpreting the semantics and rhetoric of a text, whether it is an editorial, a model text, or a piece of literature. Jessica A. Thomasson, M.A. Department of English, 2015 Radford University

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Subjects: P Language and Literature > PE English
Divisions: UNSPECIFIED
Depositing User: Jessica A. Thomasson
Date Deposited: 28 Apr 2016 13:09
Last Modified: 28 Apr 2016 13:09
URI: http://wagner.radford.edu/id/eprint/226

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