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The role of Systemic Functional Linguistics in developing teaching techniques Sonja Starc From assimilation and isolation to integration The roles of languages.

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Presentation on theme: "The role of Systemic Functional Linguistics in developing teaching techniques Sonja Starc From assimilation and isolation to integration The roles of languages."— Presentation transcript:

1 The role of Systemic Functional Linguistics in developing teaching techniques Sonja Starc From assimilation and isolation to integration The roles of languages in integrating learners from disadvantaged groups Ljubljana, 13th Nov. 2012

2 2 This presentation offers a suggestion for how textbooks can be used in acquiring new knowledge in the classroom taking advantage of the tools provided by systemic functional linguistics (SFL). In the classroom discourse a teacher who is aware that “learning happens through doing tasks” (Rose, Martin 2012:6), which demands students’ activity in the process of acquiring new competences and skills, involves students in dialogue. Teacher can not be the only one in the classroom speaking in monologue about new information, students should be equal participants in it. Yet, the learning task “is normally initiated by the teacher” (Rose, Martin 2012:6).

3 3 CLASSROOM DISCOURSE - Communication scheme (adapting R. Jakobson) reference (CURRICULUM)competences, skills CONTEXT LEARNING ACTIVITIES teacher student semiotic mode – language metalanguage, technical terms textbook

4 4 language Human communication can be performed through different semiotic modes, but as Halliday (1993: 97) states “the prototypical form of human semiotic is language. Thus ontogenesis of language is at the same time the ontogenesis of learning”. It means that “teaching any skill or subject involves teaching through language “ (Rose, Martin 2012:18). Thus teaching any subject requires a good knowledge of language, its system and structure. Not only this, the teacher should be competent in using metalanguage (to speak about language itself, especially in teaching literacy) and technical language (technical terms) of the discipline he/she represents.

5 5 We acquire language – mother tongue and we communicate using text that expresses meaning. We are doing this unconsciously, but when teaching and learning are in question we become aware of the processes in construing meaning and structuring the text. However, “texts does not simply express meaning that exists somewhere else, but it makes meaning by its configuration” (Rose, Martin 2012: 53), structure. By lexicogrammatical choices. Halliday (Halliday, Mathiessen 2004: 23) understands language as “a resource for making meaning, and meaning resides in systemic patterns of choice”, and text as a semantic phenomenon realised by the language (as a prevailing human semiotic) instantiation.

6 6 The principle of human use of language (that is: the expression of one’s own experiences and interactions with the world) is seen as continuous choice on the level between the syntagmatic (structure – y) and paradigmatic (system – x) axes. (Halliday, Mathiessen 2004: 18-36) y (structure – syntagmatic ordering in language: patterns or regularities, »what goes together with what«) (weather – text) x (system-paradigmatic ordering in language: patterns, »what could go instead of what«) (climate – language)

7 7 Halliday (2004[1998])‏: In language development as »the development of meaning creating, resource« children pass through three changes: »from protolanguage to language /…/«, »/…/from everyday spoken grammar to the grammar of literacy /…/«, and »from the grammar of written language to that of the language of the subject disciplines /…/«.

8 8 Or speaking in terms of knowledge, “the three critical moments are the moves into commonsense knowledge (age 1-2), literate educational knowledge, (age 4-6) and technical knowledge (age 9-13)”. Moving from one knowledge into another »the semantic density of the text has to increase«. (clausal > nominal expression)

9 9 What kind of text in the textbook introduces the basic knowledge to pupils (age 9)? How can teacher use the text (in textbook) to involve students into communication while acquiring new knowledge? But, before starting any activity in the classroom teacher should be aware of what semiotic modes is construed the meaning of the texts in the primary school textbooks. And how? Need: teacher’s language and text-decoding competence to start the first phase of the learning activities – preparation. textbook

10 10 Textbook Society and I, chapter Let’s pay regard to human rights The topic of human rights is introduced gradually, in sub-chapters: What do we need and what do we want (Everybody should have the possibility to satisfy his own needs.)‏ Rights for all children Rights are not available to everybody

11 11 Rights are not available to everybody Text organisation: Colony text (Hoey 2001)‏ Self contained section, semiotic units (Kress, van Leeuwen 2005)‏

12 12 Michael Hoey (2001: 76–92) argues about two types of texts: mainstream texts in which sentence(s) is (are) semantically related to the previous one(s), thus the reading path can only be linear, and colony texts that consist of semantically independent sentences or chunks of sentences (for example: the unit Scorpio in a Horoscope) which are joined together with other units by the theme, the title (Horoscope). The reading path in colony texts is normally not linear, we can start reading the information we need for example at the bottom or in the middle of the text not damageing the coherence of the whole text.

13 13 Rights are not available to everybody Text organisation: Colony text (Hoey 2001)‏ Self contained section, semiotic units (Kress, van Leeuwen 2005)‏

14 14 The text – construed by verbal and non-verbal, pictorial, semiotic resources. Mentioning the fact that nowaday's textbooks consist of pictorial and verbal to make meaning might seem redundant because texts with pictorial and verbal have become a »selfevident« part of our everyday life. Rodela (2011: 107–108) finds out that in the textbooks for Slovene as a foreign language published between 1981 and 2010 the number of pictures used per unit jumps from average 2 to 30. However, these kinds of text, called multimodal text, demand another way of reading, not the classical linear one.

15 15 When explaining the meaning-making processes with non-verbal semiotic means, especially pictorial, Kress and van Leeuwen follow Halliday’s understanding of language and text that may include other semiotic means besides language. The images (as well as verbal) construe meanings on three metafunctions. Processes (ideational metafanction) can be represented either as Narrative or Conceptual (ibid, ), position and interaction of viewer (interpersonal matefunction) can be expressed as Offer (no interaction between the represented participants and the addressee) or Demand (interaction between them) (ibid, ), and the composition (textual metafunction) is formed according to three principles: information value, salience and framing (ibid, ).


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