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This paper outlines a framework designed to explore the linguistic knowledge of primary and secondary English teachers as they used grammar ‘to think with’ (Halliday, 2002). Utilizing Halliday's distinction between usage (grammar) and theory (‘grammatics’), we draw on findings from a three-year study investigating the impact of systemic functional grammatics on teachers’ linguistic subject knowledge (LSK). The paper begins by reviewing limitations of current studies of grammar and shows how we translated Hallidayan concepts like metafunctions and stratification into a grammatics for narrative. It then explains a framework developed to analyze shifts in teachers’ LSK along three dimensions: approach to narrative, levels of language awareness and assessment stance. Drawing on interviews with 23 teachers before and after implementation of grammatics, we use the framework to describe shifts in LSK of two teachers. The paper concludes by discussing the potential of grammatics for exploring the multidimensional character of English teachers’ LSK.


School of Education

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Journal Article

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