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11. Grammatics in schools

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1. Title Title of document 11. Grammatics in schools - Continuing Discourse on Language
2. Creator Author's name, affiliation, country Geoff Williams; University of Sydney; Australia
3. Subject Discipline(s) Linguistics; Education
4. Subject Keyword(s) systemic functional linguistics; M.A.K. Halliday; functional linguistics; Berstein; Vygotskian theory; educational linguistics; literacy; grammar instruction
6. Description Abstract For educational linguists, grammatical description pushed ‘fairly far’ in the direction of semantics and written specifically for purposes of text analysis
(Halliday, 1994: xv-xvii) poses a significant challenge. On the one hand, such a grammar provides a basis for a paradigm shift in pedagogical discourse, a shift towards interpretive discussion grounded in language itself, which is of course something some educators have long desired. However, on the other hand there is the obvious question of the grammar’s accessibility and efficacy in schooling. A grammar aiming to be useful for the exploration of semantics and context is necessarily a complex analytic framework. So is it, by design so to speak, beyond the comprehension of children? In this chapter I trace some key developments in language study in schools informed by Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) since ‘Categories of the theory of grammar’ (Halliday, 2002 [1961]), then argue that the grammar appears to be both accessible and efficacious for pedagogic purposes. The basis for this claim is a set of indicative findings from a project in Sydney on children’s development of knowledge about language, which engaged six and 11-year olds in grammatical study. I will also argue that, since every theory of grammar must be embedded in a theory of instruction to enter pedagogical discourse (Bernstein, 1990), some concepts from Vygotskian theory are crucial to the way Systemic Functional Grammar (SFG) is recontextualised into school discourses.
7. Publisher Organizing agency, location Equinox Publishing Ltd
8. Contributor Sponsor(s)
9. Date (YYYY-MM-DD) 01-Nov-2005
10. Type Status & genre Peer-reviewed Article
11. Type Type
12. Format File format PDF
13. Identifier Uniform Resource Identifier
14. Identifier Digital Object Identifier 10.1558/equinox.25335
15. Source Journal/conference title; vol., no. (year) Equinox eBooks Publishing; Continuing Discourse on Language
16. Language English=en En
18. Coverage Geo-spatial location, chronological period, research sample (gender, age, etc.)
19. Rights Copyright and permissions Copyright 2014 Equinox Publishing Ltd