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Teaching primary school children about the English language: a critique of current policy documents

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal article

<mark>Journal publication date</mark>1/04/1999
<mark>Journal</mark>Language Awareness
Issue number2
Number of pages14
Pages (from-to)84-97
Publication statusPublished
Original languageEnglish


This article reviews the 'Initial Teacher Training National Curriculum for Primary English', which specifies what students who are intending to become primary school teachers must be taught about the English language. It also refers to two other key policy texts, the 'National Curriculum for English' for primary school pupils, and the 'National Literacy Strategy'. It argues that these policy documents appear to have little regard for the fact that language use, language description and the status of a standard language are, at least in part, social and political issues about which there is not a consensus. Having considered the views of language and the discourse in which those views are represented in the policy documents in question, the article proposes that a realist analysis of the relationships between language, structure and agency is helpful to understand unfolding developments in explicit teaching and learning about language in the contemporary English primary school system.