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Teaching English Grammar in Context

Learn to teach English grammar as a meaning-making resource, not a list of arbitrary rules, to promote engagement and retention.

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Discover innovative techniques for teaching grammar

On this five-week course, you’ll discover methods for teaching English grammar in context throughout primary and secondary education.

With this approach, you can employ grammar in other aspects of your teaching for a more unified experience. This engaging method helps your students explore grammar through authentic texts and discussions about meaning, choices, and effects, rather than simply identifying features.

This technique has also been shown to have positive impacts on students’ creative writing and analytical reading.

Examine useful teaching tools from stylistics and more to take back to your classroom

You’ll discover how you can teach your students to apply grammatical knowledge to a range of texts, genres, and styles to keep your activities interesting.

This allows you to combine aspects of both language and literature for an integrated approach to teaching. Drawing on tools from literary linguistics and stylistics, you’ll come away with usable ideas you can immediately include in your lessons.

Develop your knowledge of English grammar alongside academics

You’ll learn from Professor Bas Aarts who teaches English linguistics at UCL, as well as drawing on useful resources from Englicious – a free library of English language teaching materials tailored closely to the national curriculum.

With the new national curriculum requiring school teachers to teach English grammar from primary school, this course will help develop your own grammar knowledge to feel confident in the classroom.

Skip to 0 minutes and 18 seconds Hello! My name is Luke Pearce.  I’m an English teacher, and Associate Lecturer in Language and  Linguistics at the Survey of English Usage at UCL. We’re launching a new course with FutureLearn  called Teaching English Grammar in Context. Ever since it was reintroduced  into the curriculum, teaching grammar has been a controversial topic  for parents, teachers and pupils. For some, grammar has become synonymous  with changing terminology, arbitrary rules and tick-box testing.  This course hopes to dispel all that. Teachers and pupils are more familiar  with grammar and its terminology than they have been for a long time.

Skip to 1 minute and 0 seconds The question  is: what is this grammatical knowledge for?

Skip to 1 minute and 7 seconds This course is designed for primary,  secondary and further education teachers, as well as students and trainee teachers,  who are teaching to the National Curriculum of England and Wales. Of course, any teachers, students or anyone else wherever you’re based  in the world are very welcome to join us!

Skip to 1 minute and 28 seconds This course draws from literary linguistics and  stylistics, including expertise and insight from UCL and beyond. The aim of this course is to guide  participants through the principles that will enable them to devise resources and create lessons  that are teaching English grammar in context. The course will show you why and how to use  authentic texts, to prioritise reader response and to use grammar as a meaning-making resource.  All this will not only help your learners master grammar, but also to deeply analyse and produce  their own engaging, creative writing.

Skip to 2 minutes and 3 seconds We will look at what to avoid, a range of examples from  fiction and non-fiction, and in the last week give you the opportunity to develop and peer-assess  your own resource based on these principles. Thanks for listening and I look  forward to seeing you on the course!


  • Week 1


    • Course overview

      Gain an overview of the course, meet your fellow learners, take a poll on how much you teach grammar, and discuss your current practice.

    • Englicious

      Some background on the Englicious project and the resources it offers for schools.

    • English grammar in context

      Your introduction to what we mean by 'teaching English grammar in context'.

    • Summary

      What we have done so far, what's next and your thoughts.

  • Week 2


    • Overview

      A refresher from Week 1, and an introduction to the core principles that underpin this course.

    • Reader response

      Definition and examples of reader response.

    • Meaning-making resource

      What it means to call grammar a meaning-making resource.

    • Texts and contexts

      The importance of losing at authentic texts in context.

    • Summary

      What we have done so far, what's next and your thoughts.

  • Week 3

    Non-fiction texts

    • Overview

      What we can expect when looking at non-fiction texts.

    • Headlines

      How headlines create bias.

    • Articles

      How to write paragraphs with cohesion.

    • Adverts

      How the wider context is used to persuade.

    • Summary

      What we have done so far, what's next and your thoughts.

  • Week 4

    Fiction texts

    • Overview

      What we can expect when looking at fiction texts.

    • Poetry

      How poetry uses patterns.

    • Characters

      Using language to describe characters.

    • Narrative

      Building a narrative that hooks the reader's attention.

    • Summary

      What we have done so far, what's next and your thoughts.

  • Week 5

    Review and resources

    • Final overview

      A quiz on the principles that underpin teaching English grammar in context - and what to avoid!

    • Creating a Resource

      The final task is to create a resource based on the principles we have covered on this course.

    • Conclusion

      Concluding remarks and how to stay in touch.

When would you like to start?

Start straight away and join a global classroom of learners. If the course hasn’t started yet you’ll see the future date listed below.

Learning on this course

On every step of the course you can meet other learners, share your ideas and join in with active discussions in the comments.

What will you achieve?

By the end of the course, you‘ll be able to...

  • Apply methods, approaches and principles for teaching grammar in context
  • Explore ways grammar can be integrated into analytical and creative teaching activities
  • Apply grammatical knowledge to a range of texts
  • Examine how grammar works as a meaning-making resource
  • Develop your own knowledge of English grammar and grammatical terminology

Who is the course for?

This course is designed for primary, secondary, and further education school teachers in the UK.

It will also be useful for trainee teachers, NQTs, early career teachers, and PGCE teachers looking to develop their knowledge of English grammar.

Who will you learn with?

Luke is an Associate Lecturer at UCL, working on the Englicious project, and has worked as an English teacher for over 10 years, mainly in post-16 and adult education.

I'm a Professor of English Linguistics at UCL with a passion for English grammar.

After you take this course I hope you will be just as enthusiastic!

Who developed the course?

UCL (University College London)

UCL was founded in 1826. It was the first English university established after Oxford and Cambridge, and the first to open up university education to those previously excluded from it.

What's included?

This is a premium course. These courses are designed for professionals from specific industries looking to learn with a smaller group of like-minded individuals.

  • Unlimited access to this course
  • Includes any articles, videos, peer reviews and quizzes
  • Certificate of Achievement to prove your success when you're eligible
  • Download and print your Certificate of Achievement anytime

Still want to know more? Check out our FAQs

Learning on FutureLearn

Your learning, your rules

  • Courses are split into weeks, activities, and steps to help you keep track of your learning
  • Learn through a mix of bite-sized videos, long- and short-form articles, audio, and practical activities
  • Stay motivated by using the Progress page to keep track of your step completion and assessment scores

Join a global classroom

  • Experience the power of social learning, and get inspired by an international network of learners
  • Share ideas with your peers and course educators on every step of the course
  • Join the conversation by reading, @ing, liking, bookmarking, and replying to comments from others

Map your progress

  • As you work through the course, use notifications and the Progress page to guide your learning
  • Whenever you’re ready, mark each step as complete, you’re in control
  • Complete 90% of course steps and all of the assessments to earn your certificate

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Get a taste of this course

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