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Breaking down silos in the teaching of French

How can we make grammar learning more productive and motivating for high school students? This was the question on which the research project of Marie-Andrée Lord, an education researcher at Université Laval, was based. One of its objectives was to test the so-called “articulation” approach, which consists of integrating grammar exercises into reading and writing activities. Although it has long been advocated by a number of didacticians and is found in the official ministry program, little field research has been carried out on this approach, and the limited availability of existing teaching materials is not conducive to its implementation.

“Articulation” approach consists of integrating grammar exercises into reading and writing activities.

Carried out in collaboration with four teachers from the Québec City and Chaudière-Appalaches regions, this research developed and tested four teaching sequences on different texts (fables, opinion pieces, poetry). These sequences included activities to promote the development of oral and written language skills. Some sequences aimed to show how studying a grammar rule makes it possible to better understand, interpret and write texts, while the proposed reading and writing activities helped to better conceptualize the chosen grammatical concept. For example, in the fable The Wolf and the Lamb, replacing terms that refer to one of the characters, such as “the animal full of rage” by “the wolf”, helps to better understand antecedents.

The tested approach was well received by most of the teachers. In their view, the development of appropriate activities allowed for effective integration of grammar concepts. Three conditions appear essential to the implementation of this approach: access to quality material, participation in the creation of activities and, above all, support and guidance throughout the process to adjust and sustain the changes in practices.