UCL Faculty of Arts & Humanities


Making English grammar much more exciting for kids and teachers

A UCL English Professor and team have come up with a way to make teaching grammar more interesting using interactive games.

Bas Aarts

3 February 2022

English grammar had largely been absent from the curriculum since the 1960s, in part because it was seen as a hindrance to creativity. It was then reintroduced in 2014 in an effort to address falling levels of child literacy. The 50 year hiatus means that many teachers feel ill equipped to deliver grammar teaching in a fun and engaging way. 

UCL Professor of English Linguistics Bas Aarts has developed a free website to help, drawing on UCL research into authentic English language.  Englicious gives teachers access to videos, projects, exercises, a glossary of grammatical terms, and fun and interactive grammar lessons and resources.

“There’s still some resistance to teaching grammar among teachers, which is understandable, but unnecessary, because if you do it using technology, games and interactivity it can be both engaging for pupils and rewarding for teachers,” Bas explains.

The interactive games Englicious has developed have proved particularly popular with teachers and students.

“Kids love putting together wacky noun phrases such as ‘every delicious elephant on the desk,’ which has pupils in stitches of laughter, and helps them learn about how noun phrases work in a fun way,” Bas says.

So far, more than 12,000 teachers have signed up to the free site, and are now equipped to deliver engaging grammar lessons to thousands of students every week. 

The team has just completed a project with the UCL Institute of Education on the Englicious approach to teaching grammar. The outcome showed that using Englicious in the classroom has positive effects on children’s writing at ages 5 to 7.

Bas and his team received support from UCLB (UCL’s commercialisation company, part of UCL Innovation & Enterprise) to develop the idea. The project has been funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and UCL’s Higher Education Innovation Fund.

Watch a video about Englicious 

YouTube Widget Placeholderhttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pYjzxQdhQ-Y


Read the full story on the UCL Innovation & Enterprise website