In this case study, Kate Gibbs, Teacher and Literacy coach at St Joseph’s College Geelong, explains how she used functional grammar to improve her students’ writing, using Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein as a set text.
This is an excellent article for anyone interested in understanding how powerful knowing about language can be. The strategies she implemented not only improved the sophistication of students’ writing, there was also a clear increase in engagement and buy-in from weaker students. With an increased understanding of functional grammar, the students were able to select from a range of sentence structures when writing, make informed choices about language and verbalise their questions with greater specificity. They took time to consider their vocabulary options and began to identify language patterns in other texts.
The improvement of student understandings, skills and outcomes from the explicit use of functional grammar can best be seen through the results that followed. The subsequent data indicated that this class performed well above what was predicted.