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Grammar in the New Zealand English curriculum: Implications for primary school teachers and teacher educators

Maree Jeurissen

In this review of the English area of the New Zealand curriculum, the spotlight is focused on the grammar teachers in primary schools are expected to know and understand in order to effectively teach and assess literacy. It is suggested that, despite some professional development in the 1990s during the Exploring Language project, teachers currently fronting New Zealand primary school classrooms lack sufficient declarative knowledge of grammar to teach and assess the grammatical components of literacy in the English curriculum. This may be cause for concern, particularly in light of the introduction this year of Reading and Writing Standards for Years 1 to 8, which places teachers’ judgements about learners’ literacy proficiency under increased scrutiny. Overseas studies of teachers’ knowledge about grammar are reviewed and implications drawn for the local context.

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