Education and Arts

Program & Abstracts


Adlington, Rachael
Griffith University

Hierarchy of Periodicity in Blogs.


This paper explores the application of hierarchy of periodicity to blogs. In countries where Information and Communication Technology (ICT) is commonplace in daily life, people routinely engage in multimodal online content creation and publication using spaces such as Facebook and YouTube. New texts, such as blogs and wikis, have also emerged. Such texts beg questions about how Systemic Functional Linguistics presently accounts for semiosis in online texts as well as how and why Systemic Functional Theory (SFT) may be extended to account for new ways of making meaning. This paper will explore blogs through an SFT lens, first by noting the commonalities between the blog, its generic predecessors (such as the journal) and websites. Taking these commonalities as a point of departure, it will then discuss the 'newness' of blogs from the perspective of Djonov's (2008) website hierarchy and system of HYPERTEXTAL DISTANCE. While blogs and websites share some features and functionality, this paper will argue that the relationship between posts in blogs is fundamentally different to that which occurs between webpages in website navigation. A new account of the nature of hierarchy of periodicity in blogs will be proposed and illustrated through the analysis of 62 blogs.


Alyousef, Hesham Suleiman
King Saud University, Riyadh 

Peter Mickan
University of Adelaide

A multidimensional research framework for investigating the multimodal literacy and numeracy practices of postgraduate business studies.


With reference to research on literacy and numeracy practices of postgraduate business studies, this presentation describes a multidimensional framework for the description and analysis of multimodal academic literacies in terms of 1) the epistemologies of a number of accounting modules (the representation of accounting in formal university documents - the graduate attributes and learning outcomes, overview of the curriculum content of the module, and the requirements of assignment tasks); 2) the participants' experiences and explanations of working with accounting texts and tools; and 3) a Systemic Functional Multimodal Discourse Analysis (SF-MDA) of the participants' texts to reveal the salient textual and linguistic patterns of accounting discourse. The presentation also discusses the ontological and methodological concepts underlying the qualitative, sociocultural research approach employed. The framework mainly draws on SFL to conduct an SF-MDA of the experiential, interpersonal, and textual meanings in a number of accounting modules, including financial tables and graphs. The multidimensional exploration of participants' literacy and numeracy practices provides a potential research tool not only for the SF-MDA of finance and accounting discourses but also for similar investigations across a broad range of educational settings (Alyousef, 2013; Mickan, 2012, 2013). The presentation concludes with a discussion of the implications of the findings for future research and for instruction.


Blunden, Jennifer
University of Technology Sydney.

Missing the link? Exploring the intersemiosis of verbiage and artefact in museum exhibitions.


Museums are highly significant and influential cultural and educational resources. Central to this role and to their appeal is the physical engagement they offer with material culture, with things. But while in essence the museum experience is largely physical, sensory, emotional, even spiritual, much of how audiences come to understand the artefacts on display is mediated through language. More particularly, museums see a primary purpose of exhibition texts as helping visitors to 'look more deeply and in new ways' at the objects or works, 'to get past that first initial glance'. And yet the nature of the semantic relationships construed between text and artefact is rarely if ever clearly explicated.

This paper presents findings from a current doctoral research study into the role of language in museum exhibitions. Drawing particularly on multimodal systemic functional work into text-image relations (eg, Kress & Van Leeuwen 1996; Martinec & Salway 2005; O'Halloran 2008) and three- dimensional architectural space (including McMurtrie 2013; Ravelli & Stenglin 2008; Stenglin 2004) this paper explores the nature of the semantic links established between text and artefact within the constructed intersemiotic space of an art and a social history exhibition, with the aim of bringing into view relations that are central to the experience and work of museums, but which to date have largely flown under the radar.


Cann, Maureen
Catholic Education Office Melbourne   

Robert Inglis, Anne Dalmau, & Rod Gregory
Parade College

Secondary Literacy Improvement Project (SLIP): What is 'thinkable' about Literacy at the levels of school and classroom practice?


The workshop aims to provide inspiration for thinking in new ways about how language is a central aspect of learning in each subject area in secondary schools.  Since 2009, the Catholic Education Office Melbourne (CEOM) has implemented the Secondary Literacy Improvement Project (SLIP) as part of the CEOM Literacy Strategy goal to improve the educational experience and learning outcomes of all students.  SLIP provides schools  with  targeted  and  customised  support  directed  towards  building  teachers'  knowledge  about language  so that students develop deep understanding of linguistic meaning making systems in subject disciplines.

The project is concerned with both the what - the active use of the language features and modalities of texts  that  receive  heavy  duty  use  in  different  curriculum  areas - and  the  how - how  might  school leadership and  teachers develop a learning environment that embeds language learning in each subject area and that recognises that linguistic features are intrinsic to making meanings that tasks and disciplines call for?

This workshop will:

  • Examine the features of a functional knowledge of language that make a difference in student learning, drawing on examples from Catholic secondary schools that are:
  • making overt cumulative connections between knowledge and skills of the valued genres across the year levels and subject areas
  • tracking and assessing students' literacy development in each subject area
  • developing units of work which attend specifically to the valued genres of each subject area
  • Present the approach to curriculum literacies taken by leadership, teachers and students from Parade College, a large culturally diverse Catholic boys' school situated in Melbourne.

Chandler, Paul
Australian Catholic University

Evaluation of students' digital animated multimodal narratives: learning about classrooms.


This paper addresses the evaluation of multimodal texts, particularly 3D digital animations created by school-age students. The approach taken is to identify the 'literal' or 'concrete' observable elements present in the text. 'Categories of meaning' are used to focus an evaluator's attention the observable elements, allowing judgements about the range and effectiveness of conventions associated with the range of codes which align with each category. Building on a discussion of how the instrument was developed which was presented at the 2011 ASFLA conference, this paper considers the summary of evaluations of student work from over 40 classrooms. From this, issues of consistency of quality of work are considered, some explanations of trends are advanced, the process of identifying 'high performing' classrooms considered and a discussion about 'learning about' teaching in a multimodally-rich environment presented.


Chen, Honglin, Barbra McKenzie
University of Wollongong 

Pauline Harris
University of South Australia

Recontexualisation of Australian Curriculum: English into different state syllabi.


This paper reports on part of an ARC Discovery project that investigates the processes involved in the development and recontextualisation of the Australian Curriculum: English. It examines how aspects of AC:E are selected and appropriated by one state syllabus via interview and document analysis. Drawing on Bernstein's (2000) pedagogic device and Maton's (2009, 2013) Legitimation Code Theory, we discuss the shift in knowledge structures that occurred during the development of the state syllabus and factors that shaped the recontextualisation. We argue that some structural changes masked the original intent of the AC:E and may dissipate the potential of that Curriculum for innovation and transformation. The study contributes to understanding how disciplinary knowledge (i.e., subject English) is recontextualised and institutionalised at the state level.


Chen, Yi
Macquarie University

Understanding the interpreters' identity in China's Political Press Conferences: A textual Analysis of China's Two-session Press Conferences.


Interpreting practice has been widely acknowledged as a profession with the increasing demand for international communication today. In such a professional language-based practice the issue of identity is deemed to be vitally related to the beliefs, attitudes and understanding about the roles within the context of work (Adams et al, 2006). The perception of interpreters' identity in practice appear to be of great significance to understanding the nature of the interpreting services as a profession as well as the "precise" meaning of interpreters' discourse in a given context.

In this context, the current study examines linguistic choices of interpreters in China's political press conferences from a systemic functional linguistic (SFL) perspective. The data of the research is drawn from China's two-session press conferences held in 1998, 2006 and 2009. The texts for analysis include the target-language (TL) texts transcribed from the interpretation of 3 different interpreters and the source-language (SL) texts from 3 Chinese government officials and journalists who are from both China and abroad.

The central aim of this research is to examine the interpreters' possible linguistic manipulation regarding the interpersonal meanings of the discourse and to investigate how an interpreter's role is played in such a politically-constrained context. For this purpose, three sets of texts will be analysed at both grammatical and lexical-semantic levels in light of the SFL systems of MOOD and Appraisal. The specific aim is to examine the systemic selections of interpreters in the MOOD network and in the Appraisal system, particularly selections from the sub-system of ATTITUDE, when clients and contents of interpretation change.

By adopting an SFL approach to product-oriented interpreting studies, the research is expected 1) provide more linguistic evidence of interpreters' visibility in communication, 2) indicate the link between an interpreter's motivation and his or her choices of interpersonal meanings in interpretation and 3) show that interpreters' linguistic choices are reflective of their professional identity and contextual constrains.


Cochrane, Imogene
Erskineville Public School

Teaching grammar through a games-based pedagogy.


This workshop presents a number of strategies for engaging young learners with understandings about the clause in the context of reading several picture books written by Alison Lester. In particular, it focuses on the use of games to engage with, to explore and to use functionally oriented concepts and terminology. An important feature of the games-based pedagogy with its elements of chance and co-operation is the opportunity for fostering student interaction and exploratory talk about the grammatical   concepts.   In   this   way,   the   children   practiced   identifying   and manipulating the clause elements in preparation for more formal literacy activities. In the workshop, I will discuss the background to the games, their relationship to my literacy  program  and  to  the  school-based  project  that  my  colleagues  and  I  are engaged in as we work to integrate the language, literacy and literature strands of the Australian  Curriculum: English (ACARA 2013). I  will also identify key design decisions in terms of each game and its sequencing alongside other literacy activities for this particular group of six and seven year olds.


Collins, Garry
University of Queensland

Grammar and poetry: integrating the Language and Literature Strands of the Australian Curriculum: English.


This session will provide some examples of how aspects of the SFL informed approach to grammar to be found in the Language Strand of the Australian Curriculum: English (AC:E) can be readily integrated with the classroom use of literary texts in school subject English. The poems used will probably include Alfred Noyes' The Highwayman, Will Ogilvie's The Death of Ben Hall, Tennyson's The Charge of the Light Brigade, and W.H. Auden's Musee des Beaux Arts. The presenter's teaching background is in high schools but activities could also work in primary classrooms.

The grammatical issues touched on are relevant to three of the five sub strands of the AC:E Language Strand: language for interaction, text structure and organisation, and expressing and developing ideas. In line with the conference theme "Seizing the moment", the method modelled is to capitalise on opportunities for teaching and using grammar presented in texts chosen for study and relevant to student writing tasks to be generated from them, rather than starting from the content descriptions specified for particular year levels in the AC:E. Participants will have the opportunity to consider what teaching and learning activities could be generated from particular poems.


Cominos, Nayia, Jon Jureidini, & John Walsh
University of Adelaide

The process of diagnosis in an Emergency Department mental health context.


There is perhaps no context where seizing the moment is more important than in emergency health care. This is equally true for mental health patients, for whom the risk is self-harm or harm to others, if there is not timely and appropriate intervention.

The data for this paper come from a national health communication project focusing on clinical handover. The paper provides a cross- disciplinary analysis of the ways in which diagnosis is achieved within an Emergency Department mental health team in a South Australian Hospital. The analysis is built on a collaboration between mental health clinicians and applied linguists using understandings from psychiatric diagnosis processes alongside resources from SFL.

The linguistic analysis looks at hierarchical relations, the manner in which the credibility of sources and information is construed, how causal relations are created, challenged or consolidated, and the degree to which the patient's voice is perceptible  during  this  process.


Cook, Amanda & Chris Jones
Tamworth South Public School

"I don't think I'm hopeless at grammar": Reports from NSW teachers in the Grammatics Project.


(Note: This is one of two presentations by teachers in the Grammatics Project, a large-scale project funded through the Australian Research Council which is led by Mary Macken-Horarik co-investigated with a research team including Kristina Love and Carmel Sandiford at the Australian Catholic University in Melbourne and Len Unsworth at Griffith University in Brisbane.)

Grammar has long been a fraught aspect of English in both primary and secondary schools, with many teachers both dreading teaching it and complaining that they have had insufficient support in learning about it and how to use it effectively.  With the Australian Curriculum for English and its focus on learning about language, many teachers are now seeking ways to develop their own knowledge about language in ways that support their students in the literacy and literature demands of the curriculum.

In this presentation, teachers involved in an ARC-funded project will report on their own growth, and that of their students in Years 4, 6, 8 and 10, as they undertook intensive professional development over a two year period, based on the principles of 'using grammar to think with' (Halliday, 2002:242). This PD involved teachers using selected tools from Systemic Functional Linguistics 'for thinking with', to explore the structures and language features of the narrative, persuasive and response texts of schooling.

Representative groups of teachers will report on how they have taken up the ideas workshopped through the two years of the project as they engage with narrative, persuasion and text responses in ways that are meaningful for their students, their curriculum development and their teaching. Focusing on relevant aspects of the language systems, in both verbal and mulitmodal forms, the teachers will provide vignettes of their practice, offering insights into what aspects of SFL they selected and why, how they taught their students about these aspects, and what difference it made to their practice.


Cullican, Sarah
Catholic Education Office, Melbourne

Reading to Learn in CEO Melbourne: A Decade of Learning (2003-2013).


The Catholic Education Office Melbourne has a strong tradition of teacher professional learning for the 300 or so primary and secondary schools it serves, informed particularly by genre pedagogy and the functional model of language. In 2003, the CEOM introduced Reading to Learn (R2L) as a research initiative designed to investigate the most effective ways of supporting learners in Years 5-8. R2L was initially selected for its capacity to bridge a number of traditional 'divides': the divide between the structures and the curriculum orientations of primary and secondary education; the divide between mainstream and intervention literacy pedagogies; and the divide between socio-cultural and skills-based models of literacy development. Of critical importance was the focus on high level texts and on building teacher professional knowledge about text and language across curriculum learning areas.

Evaluations showed exceptional results for the R2L literacy pedagogy (Culican 2006), as well as high support among both mainstream teachers and literacy specialists. It has since developed into a comprehensive professional learning program, firmly anchored in the CEOM Literacy Strategy Goals of Quality Teaching and Continuous School Improvement and Accountability.

This year, R2L in the CEOM celebrates 10 years of teacher and student learning. This session will focus on key lessons learned at the teacher, school and system level. Presentations from two schools - one primary, one secondary - will highlight successes and challenges, implementation issues and effective strategies for building a whole-school approach to R2L.


Custance, Bronwyn
Freelance Education Consultant, South Australia

Ross Hamilton
Department for Education and Child Development

Chris Payne
Catholic Education South Australia

Building bridges: Moving with the times without losing strong functional foundations.


The ESL Scope and Scales, developed as part of the South Australian curriculum, has been a highly valued and widely used assessment and reporting tool with a reach well beyond their original audience. The need to move from a state-based curriculum to a national one provided an opportunity for their redevelopment. The challenge was to align the tool with the Australian Curriculum, adopting its organisational framework and terminology, whilst retaining strong SFL underpinnings and ensuring the tool remained both a precise measure of educational need and a diagnostic tool, assisting teachers in targeted learning design. Another challenge was to increase ease of use and accessibility for mainstream teachers, yet to maintain its ability to deepen their knowledge about language and literacy development. Finally, by backgrounding 'ESL' it was hoped the tool would be more widely recognised as useful in assessing language and literacy learning needs of any student, particularly the educational disadvantaged, regardless of linguistic and cultural background.

This workshop will:

  • provide  background to  the  development  of  the  Language  and  Literacy  Levels  across  the  Australian Curriculum: EALD students
  • describe their uptake by teachers/schools
  • allow opportunity to level a student text and identify growth and teaching points.

Delahunty, Janine
University of Wollongong

Learning to connect - connecting to learn: cultivating an online learning community.


Although learning communities in higher education are a valuable learning tool for dialogically negotiating new perspectives (Wenger, 1998), this kind of dialogue can prove elusive in online learning either through design, online communication skills or attitudes towards discussion. This presents some very real challenges to the successful development of an online learning community, especially within semester- bound subjects. The asynchronous discussion forums provide a snapshot of how, and the extent to which, learning community is dialogically created and sustained. Therefore this paper focuses on the discussion forums of three online post-graduate TESOL subjects, each using the forums differently, to understand what may foster an online learning community. Using SFL to analyse selected texts from the discussions allowed insight into the interactants' representations of the world (experiential), their reactions to it (attitudinal response), and the relationships being enacted (interpersonal). The descriptive categories available in the SFL model rendered more visible the linguistic resources used by each of the groups, and thus what was effective in developing a learning community. The findings indicate the important role of  the  instructor  in mediating  discussion,  and  that  meta-knowledge  of  language choices may assist learners (and instructors) to open up dialogic space on the forums in a way that fosters discussion which is transformative and community-building.


Don, Alexanne
University of New South Wales

Valorising GM food in the media: How science is positively contributing to our future.


Using a combination of Appraisal and the notion of Cosmologies from LCT theory (e.g. Maton 2013), this paper presents the results of some analyses of a number of recent articles in the news and from social media. It investigates how 'science' and genetically modified (GM) organisms are associated and given value by proponents of GM, at the same time as these clusterings of positive attributes are contrasted with stances opposed to the use of genetic modification of plants and animals. While some of the articles explicitly positively evaluate the development of GM food, many of them invoke Attitude towards their primary targets by complex associations with both intra-text, inter-text, and extra-text associations, co-opting the epistemological charging 'science' enables, and subverting other stances as lacking this 'objectivity', at the same time implying that such stances lack an ethically motivated attitude. The paper will explore some of the ways that GM foods are given social value in the sample texts.


Doran, Yaegan
University of Sydney

Classroom Discourse of Physics: Multisemiosis, Instantiation and Logogenesis.


In approaches to classroom discourse, systemic theory has fruitfully utilised the ever-evolving realisational hierarchy across lexicogrammar, discourse semantics, register and genre to describe classroom practices and inform interventions (e.g. Christie 2002, Rose and Martin 2012). In recent years, however, there has been a dramatic opening of complementary dimensions of the theory such as instantiation and logogenesis from which operationalisable tools are beginning to emerge (Martin 2010, Martin 2011, Zhao 2010). At the same time, the rise of multimodality and the necessary description of intersemiosis have put significant strains on the realisational hierarchy as we currently know it. It is from this background that this paper will begin. Focusing on the classroom discourse of physics, which seamlessly employs spoken and written language, mathematics and images, this paper will explore the use of the dimensions of instantiation and logogenesis in understanding how physics means as a multisemiotic discipline. This will allow a discussion of the regular couplings of differing semiotic systems that provide the instantiation of meaning in the classroom, and in doing so, shine further light on how these dimensions can complement our understanding of the extensive realisational hierarchy.


Dreyfus, Shoshana, Namala Tilakaratna, & Tobin Bales
University of Sydney

"I have a fondness for cadavers…": issues arising from using Appraisal to analyse a corpus of blog entries.


This paper reports on findings from a large project that used appraisal to analyse 91,000 lines of blog entries. The paper explores the genres found within the blog entries, the way appraisal was deployed and the problems encountered by the team using appraisal for the analysis. The paper explores some of the fuzzy boundaries of attitude categories and discusses, among other things, how we might argue for changes to appraisal.


Fawcett, Cassi
Macquarie University

Academic literacy: Mapping development.


This paper reports on a corpus-assisted, longitudinal study of Chinese learners' development of English academic literacy through a focused analysis of grammatical metaphor (GM). This close examination of GM combines the delicate descriptions of Systemic Functional Linguistic (SFL) with the empirical resources of Corpus Linguistics (CL), resulting in a multi-dimensional framework for understanding learners' ontogenetic development. The elaborated framework first accounts for patterns of reliance, supported quantitatively through frequency and variation analysis, providing insights into learners' expanding paradigmatic and syntagmatic repertoire of resources. It then characterises the quality of GM deployment, identifying patterns of intermediate metaphorical control, or the degrees of completeness and control over a reconstrual, and metaphorical enrichment, the degrees of technicality, formality and meanings committed to the metaphor (Schleppegrell, 2001; Martin & Rose, 2003, 2007; Hood, 2008). Finally, the framework examines GM deployment across whole texts, identifying key patterns of text cohesion, cause and effect orderings, and information condensation, highlighting the contributions of GM deployment to the construction of advanced academic texts (Baratta, 2010; Halliday, 1994; Martin, 1989; Schleppegrell, 2001). This paper discusses salient patterns of deployment in Chinese learners' texts and concludes with a detailed mapping of learners' pathways of GM development.


Ferrari, Paula
Australian Catholic University

Trialogues:  Discourse features of caregivers and their twins in triadic interactions: Three cases.


Given the increased numbers of twins in the community, as well as the literature suggesting potential disadvantage due to possible dilution of caregiver linguistic resources (Thorpe, 2006), further information about the environment in which twins learn language is needed. Language disadvantage is not inevitable for twins, however the linguistic features of caregiver-twin 'trialogues'  have not been explored within naturalistic settings. Caregivers and twins can adapt their language for the triadic context to meet the developing discursive needs of both children. However there are times when this is less successfully achieved.

This paper reports a PhD project using multiple case study design to explore the videoed interactions of High Autonomy Professionals ('HAP') (Hasan, 2009), typically "school focussed" caregivers (Heath, 2008) with their preschool twins. The paper will detail preliminary findings of the analysis of triadic, trialogic interactions in quotidian, literate contexts using semantic networks (Williams, 1995). Preliminary findings around the features of the triadic interactions of caregivers with twins will be discussed.


Freeman, Janet
Department of Education & Communities, New South Wales

Where's my script! Creating a script for co-teaching academic English in the mainstream primary classroom.


This paper reports on a proposed research project of co-teaching within a scaffolding pedagogy. The purpose of the project is to report on the effects of having two teachers support working together to scaffold English Language Learners (ELLS) in the academic registers of school on the students and the teachers The project aims to observe and document systematic co-planning and co-teaching between a mainstream primary classroom teacher and an TESOL specialist as they create a teaching and learning program for upper primary English Language Learners (ELLS) in the mainstream primary classroom. Using the framework for macro or built- in  and micro or contingent scaffolding created by Jennifer Hammond and Pauline Gibbons (2005) I investigate how teachers plan and teach a unit which aims to teach the academic, grammatical and technical language of a primary curriculum unit of work in a mainstream classroom. Also important in this  planning is the use of the mode continuum  developed  by  Hammond  (1990)  in  the  planning  of  teaching activities.


French, Ruth
University of New England

Teaching and learning about Theme in Year 2.


The notion of 'Theme' as a grammatical category is a distinct offering of systemic functional linguistics. It has powerful potential for enhancing literacy outcomes for students through explicit attention to features of texts often less clearly articulated as aspects of 'style'. It is, however, an inherently more abstract category than for example 'Process' or 'Participant', and may therefore be predicted to be more difficult for young learners to understand than grammatical categories which are viewed as more 'concrete'.

This paper explores the teaching - learning of Theme in a case study conducted in a Year 2 class. It focuses on classroom discourse including teacher talk through which the concept of 'Theme' was recontextualised for children. Both productive and less helpful ways of talking about Theme are identified. The application of knowledge of Theme in one writing task is interpreted as an early step on a potential trajectory of cumulative knowledge of Theme, and some of the challenges for building such cumulative knowledge across the school years are addressed. Points of contact with content in the Australian Curriculum: English are also identified.


Gill, Talia, Karl Maton, & J.R. Martin
University of Sydney

Len Unsworth
Griffith University

Sarah Howard
University of Wollongong

Riding the next wave: Facing challenges for linguists posed by knowledge-building.


This paper focuses on the ongoing dialogue between Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) and the sociological approach of Legitimation Code Theory (LCT) in relation to knowledge and knowledge-building (Christie & Martin 2007, Christie & Maton 2011, Martin & Maton 2013, Maton 2014). The paper outlines some key theoretical contributions that have emerged from recent inter-disciplinary efforts to account for the interrelations of linguistic practices and knowledge practices in secondary school classrooms (Freebody et al. 2008, Martin & Maton 2013). Of particular significance has been exploring how different forms of grammar, composition and terminology, brought together as 'power pedagogy' (Martin 2013) can enable 'semantic waves' (Maton 2013) in knowledge (recurrent shifts in context-dependence and condensation of meanings) (see also Macnaught et al. 2013, Matruglio et al. 2013). Building on this work, linguists are now facing a fresh challenge: how to 'calibrate' semantic waves to linguistically account for differing degrees of what LCT terms 'semantic gravity' and 'semantic density'. The paper concludes by reporting on, and inviting discussion about, some of the ways we are attempting to meet this challenge in a current inter-disciplinary project exploring cumulative knowledge- building in secondary school classrooms.


Hao, Jing
University of Sydney

Investigating relator in undergraduate biology texts.


This paper reports on part of my ongoing PhD study, which makes an attempt to explore the trajectory of apprenticeship in the discipline of biology. This aim has been approached by investigating high-graded laboratory reports and research reports, which are produced across three undergraduate years. Informed by Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL), the study focuses on the ideational metafunction.

In this paper, I particularly focus on the discourse semantic unit that construes logical meaning - the relator (Halliday & Matthiessen 1999). A distinction is made between external and internal relator, following Halliday & Matthiessen (1999), as well as the system of CONJUNCTION, following Martin (1992). The analysis of relator in this study concerns the tension between its meaning at discourse semantics and its various metaphorical realisations in lexicogrammar (i.e. grammatical metaphor in Halliday & Martin 1993, Halliday 1998). Modelling stratal tension on relator firstly reveals various ways in which discourse semantic figure can be realised in the clause. I will also discuss how the effective construal of internal and external relators reveals the building of activity sequence and implication sequence in the field of biology.

The findings reveal an ontogenetic development in using resources of logical meaning across texts. This is helpful for understanding the trajectories of how language resources are expanded in order to build technical knowledge, as well as reasoning activities in the field of biology at undergraduate years.


Harper, Helen
Menzies School of Health

Chantelle Rogers
Moulden Park Primary School

Metalinguistic talk as a site of high challenge and resistance.


This paper reports on findings from an action research project to record and reflect on literacy lessons with a small group of underachieving Year 5 students, with a view to helping the students

both improve their reading and writing, and engage more effectively in classroom discussions. Discussions about text structure were a regular feature of the lessons, with the teacher and students jointly deconstructing the texts and reflecting on the purposes of the different parts. However, although the students enjoyed talking about the stories they were studying, we observed them to be highly resistant to moving from general discussion about 'what happened in the story' to talking about text structure and the purposes for a writer's language choices.

In this paper, we will present examples from the project that illustrate student-teacher interactions about text structure. Our observations suggest that this kind of abstract talk involves a major shift in thinking for students who have been operating with ineffective and fossilised reading behaviours. Further, we suggest that student resistance to these conversations can be interpreted as indicative of the high challenge of the linguistic task. Our examples also highlight the high cognitive demands on the teacher in supporting students to engage in metalinguistic conversations: in simultaneously sustaining her line of discussion, building the students' knowledge and maintaining a positive engagement with the students. The project has implications for how we understand the cognitive challenges many students face in learning to talk about language, and how we construct the role of the teacher in orchestrating these metalinguistic conversations.


Henderson-Brooks, Caroline & Erika Matruglio
University of Western Sydney

Responding to the Moment: Using Annotated Exemplars as a resource for engaging with Academic Discourse.


In the context of "continuing concerns that young people from low socioeconomic and Indigenous backgrounds are underrepresented among high achievers in education and employment", universities have been dealing with the issue of academic engagement, particularly for first in family students (Krause and Coates 2008). Access to assessment tasks, especially understanding questions and expectations for performance, is a priority for these students (UWS Student Experience and Engagement Committee Report 2012). As part of a comprehensive review of assessment practices in response, UWS is working to ensure the inclusion of annotated exemplars of each assessment task into Learning Guides for first year, first session units (Tier 2 Strategy UWS SEEC  2012). As academic literacy  advisers  working  with  discipline  staff  towards  implementation  of  this  policy,  we  use  a selection of annotated exemplars developed across disciplines at UWS to explore the use of annotated exemplars from the perspective of genre and periodicity (Rose and Martin 2012), investigating their disciplinary nature and how  they can be designed to exemplify marking criteria  providing clear expectations for both staff and students.   We also explore challenges such as collaboration with discipline staff who may not have a metalanguage or explicit knowledge about language but who have an implicit understanding of what constitutes a particular grade, and the question of how academic literacy specialists can produce and support the use of annotated exemplars so staff can create their own.


Huisman, Rosemary
University of Sydney

Realising the macro-institutional context - discourses in science, law and literature.


Though the three contextual parameters Field, Tenor and Mode constitute every context, from the most general context of culture to the most specific context of situation, the intermediate contexts of different social institutions may display a characteristic preoccupation with one or other parameter. This paper suggests the scientific context promotes an orientation to Field, the legal context an orientation to Tenor, and the literary context to Mode. In consequence, a particular institutional discourse, the semantic realisation of a context, may be characterised by its preoccupation with the appropriate macrofunction: scientific discourse with ideational meaning, legal discourse with interpersonal meaning, literary discourse with textual meaning.

Using detailed examples, this paper will suggest both similarities and differences between the discourses of these macro-institutions.


Humphrey, Sally & Tina Sharpe
Australian Catholic University

Belmore Boys High School

Using a 4x4 meta-semiotic toolkit to integrate language, literacy and curriculum learning across the Middle Years.


This workshop reports on findings from three Sydney based literacy projects, which have drawn on SFL to support students' literacy for learning in English and Science. Schools involved are: Belmore Boys High School; De La Salle College, Bethlehem College and St Vincent's Primary School in Ashfield; and Richmond High School.

These three projects share the aim of assisting teachers to build and share their expertise in preparing for the demands of the Australian Curriculum/NSW BOS Syllabus. This involves integrating language and literacy with discipline learning, including for English teachers, literature. The projects also share the aim of developing pathways of discipline learning from Stage 2 to Stage 4 through language. This requires teacher development of knowledge of language within their context of teaching and learning.

The projects frame and extend teachers' knowledge of language through applying an SFL informed 4x4 framework (Humphrey, 2013), which takes into account different levels of texts and the different meaning systems that are identified within the Australian Curriculum. Drawing on understandings from the 4x4, teachers from each project and the consultants who worked with them will report on the development of their own meta-semiotic knowledge and the application of this knowledge in developing and implementing genre-based literacy sequences.


Jacobsen, Susanne Karen
Metropolitan University College, Denmark

Anne Katrine Kryger Larsen
Vestegnens Privatskole, Denmark

Reading to Learn in a Danish TEFL class of 11 year-olds.


This paper presents partial results from an EU funded Comenius multilateral project, 'Teacher Learning for European Literacy Education'. The aims of the project have been to improve learning outcomes for disadvantaged students, to develop the expertise of educators in literacy pedagogy based on the functional model of language, and to trial the pedagogy in classrooms. (http://tel4ele.eu/index.php/19-sample-data-articles/joomla/24-objectives).

The aim of the foreign language teaching curriculum in Denmark is that learners become communicatively competent and acquire intercultural competence. According to Gibbons (2006) the use of authentic texts with all their complexity and cultural richness - is an important element of successful EFL pedagogy. However, these non-adapted texts present considerable linguistic challenge for the learners and require a good deal of teacher scaffolding. The project drew on Reading to Learn (R2L) (Rose & Martin, 2012) and the paper reports on its implementation in a 5th grade. Through the teacher's systematic scaffolding, R2L has closed the gap between high and low achievers and between the cognitive level of a given text and the linguistic level of the learners.

This paper explores the potentials of R2L in a new cultural context, presenting data including textbook examples, student language samples and video observations.


Johansson, Britt
Knutbyskolan, Education Administration, Stockholm

The Knutby Project - How a primary school in Sweden succeeded in closing the achievement gap between linguistically and culturally diverse students.


In this presentation I will focus on the process of implementing a genre based pedagogy inspired by the Australian Sydney School (Rose & Martin 2012) as presented by the work of John Polias (Dare & Polias 2004, Custance, Dare & Polias 2010). The main purpose of this project was to narrow the achievement gap in all subjects within our student body of learners with widely varying sociocultural backgrounds. The project presents an interesting and informing case study of how literacy outcomes can be enhanced through SFL-oriented whole school change. A change achieved principally within the school's budget. I will describe the work my colleagues and I have done at our school in Sweden and present some of the results.

Student achievement at our school shows that our method leads to considerable improvement of students' achievement. Our school serves as a model for many schools all around Sweden.

The core of the presentation will revolve around the pedagogical and linguistic gains and insights of the project.


Jones, Pauline
University of Wollongong

Mary Macken-Horarik
University of New England, Armidale

Multimodal Explanations: Where Science and Semiotics meet.


Science students in school and university classrooms are increasingly using digital media such as videos, digital stories, vodcasts and animations to explain science concepts. Composing digital science explanations usually requires students to translate their learning through a number of different representational forms; e.g. from research notes, to storyboard, to 3D models to narrated animation. Kress (2010) refers to such mode shifts as 'transduction', a process we see as one aspect of a more general register shift as students build knowledge of the science field and take up increasingly expert roles with respect to the science content. Interestingly, there has been little research into the quality of learning and the nature of engagement afforded by these learning activities. In this presentation we report on preliminary work using social semiotic tools (Macken-Horarik & Adoniou 2008) to analyse student-generated explanations and to explore the affordances of different modes as students design and construct these digital explanations.


Kaneko, Ikuyo
Juntendo University, Japan

Yumiko Mizusawa
Keio University, Japan

An Appraisal analysis of emotional expressions in first and second language writings by Japanese learners of English.


This paper reports on a project which has explored personal letters written in first and second languages by Japanese learners of English. The purpose of this study was to observe the similarities and differences between emotional expressions in first and second language writings.

In order to investigate emotional expressions in English and Japanese, two kinds of letters, written by Japanese college students studying in Japan, were analysed. All the students were instructed to write a love letter and a letter of condolence in English and Japanese, without referring to how-to books on letter writing. The attitudinal resources in the letters expressed in English were analysed by adopting Appraisal theory (Martin & White, 2005, White 2001, 2002) as a framework. Those written in Japanese were analysed with the framework of the Japanese system of Appraisal (JAppraisal) proposed by Sano (2011).

The results showed that particular lexicogrammatical features were identified both in love letters and letters of condolence. The study also revealed different text patterns of the letters written in English and those in Japanese respectively, although written by the same students.


Leahy, Julie
Holy Spirit College, Bellambi

Excursions with Functional Grammar.


The literacy demands of subject English require students to engage with and create increasingly complex texts across a variety of modes.  The Australian Curriculum will ensure that our next generation of students has some explicit teaching of grammar and its applications.  But what about our students now?  Functional grammar can assist Year 12 HSC students to analyse complex texts and develop more extended arguments which are sustained throughout an essay. At the other end of the spectrum, Year 7 students can build knowledge of the constructed nature of texts and experiment with the range of choices which authors employ. When the requirements of senior school are backward mapped in the curriculum, it is evident that much more needs to be done to prepare students for the academic rigours of senior school. However, a limited knowledge of the language system need not prevent students from analysing the sophisticated texts set for study.By seizing the moment, a teacher's journey can be transformed by the recognition that there is value to be had now from what functional grammar has to offer. The following discussion traces one teacher's experiments with the system in a series of random opportunities arising from her base level learning of Functional Grammar, experiments and honest student discussion.


Liu, Feifei
University of Technology Sydney

The construction of heteroglossia in newspaper editorial discourse.


Newspaper  editorials  are  an  important  genre  in media  discourse  and studies  of  the  rhetorical structuring of these texts complement a growing body of discourse analytic research that addresses for  example  media  talk,  hard  news,  broadcast,  documentary,  and  magazine  programmes.  The present paper draws on the engagement system within appraisal framework (Martin & White 2005; Hood 2010), and on genre theory and periodicity to explore the patterns of evaluative meaning that characterize a set of 10 newspaper editorials from the official website of The Australian. Attention is paid to how the writers express stance and work to persuade potential readers, and in particular the construction of heteroglossia through the rhetorical development of authorial voices and referenced external voices, and the relative roles of each. Central to this research is dialogism - dialogue with the potential readers, the alternative viewpoints and the other external voices. The present research aims  to  further  the   understanding  of  persuasive  strategies  in  newspaper  editorial  texts  and contribute to media education as well.


Love , Kristina, & Carmel Sandiford
Australian Catholic University

"Our lovely structure is enough to bore anybody witless": Using grammar to think beyond structure in persuasive texts.


This presentation is based on initial findings of an ARC-funded project which tracks the metalinguistic growth of teachers and their students in Years 4, 6, 8 and 10 as teachers undertook intensive professional development based on the principles of 'using grammar to think with' (Halliday, 2002:242). We draw on data collected in the second year of the project to explore the extent to which teachers and their students could draw meaningfully on a toolkit of grammatical resources at word, sentence and text level in supporting students' writing of persuasive texts. We conclude by discussing the implications for both pedagogy and for educational linguistics of two kinds of stretch; the stretch experienced by the project teachers as they integrated this new knowledge about language into their everyday teaching; and the stretch experienced by the researchers as they sought to co-develop with the teachers a workable but theoretically principled linguistic toolkit.


Macken-Horarik, Mary
University of New England

Teachers' reflections on students' texts: what kinds of knowledge yield what kinds of diagnoses and what does this mean for school English?


This paper takes up the issue of teachers' reflections on students' texts and what this indicates about their capacity to diagnose strengths and weaknesses in students' interpretive practices. It presents a teacher perspective on a complementary paper by Len Unsworth focussing on students' written responses to a common illustrated literary text. The paper emerges from ongoing research funded by the Australian Research Council (Macken-Horarik, Unsworth & Love, 2011-2013), which is investigating the character of semiotic knowledge necessary to teach students about narrative, persuasion and text response at four stages of schooling. In this paper, I consider data from teacher interviews about the qualities of their students' written responses to The Great Bear by Libby Gleeson and Armin Greder. The paper outlines the theoretical framework informing teacher workshops and our orientation to teacher knowledge about language and multimodal communication more generally. Drawing on notions like point of view in written and multimodal narrative, the paper probes teachers' responses to students' readings of The Great Bear and what this indicates about their knowledge about narrative semiosis. Implications for teachers' capacity to diagnose students' own orientations to literary textuality are explored, particularly the importance of awareness of texts as semiotic constructs. The paper concludes with some recommendations about the character of a semiotics 'good enough' to meet the needs of students in their 21st century English classrooms.


Makki, Mohammad
University of New South Wales

A genre analysis of Iranian newspaper journalism.


This paper will report findings from a study of articles published in Iranian newspapers which is directed at identifying and classifying the genres which operate in Iranian (Farsi) journalism. More specifically, the paper will focus on that part of the study which has been  concerned  with  those articles  which  might  be broadly classified  as "news reports" or "news stories", a text type discussed in some depth in the context of English- language journalism by Feez et al. (2008), by Bell (1991), by van Dijk  (1988) and by White  (1997,  1998,  2000,  2012).  Particular  reference  was  made  to  the  account  of storytelling and news reporting genres which have been developed by those working with the  framework sometimes labelled the "Sydney genre school" (see, for example, Feez et al. 2008; Martin  and Rose 2008). For the purposes of the study, two leading Iranian newspapers of contrasting   ideological orientations have been chosen for detailed analysis. All the articles from one edition of each newspaper were examined with a view to discovering any more or less stable patterns of textual organisation which might provide the basis for proposals as to the genres which operate in this context. The genres thereby identified have been compared with the news story genres which have been identified in research into journalistic discourse in other languages (particularly the work on English journalism) with a view to determining the degree of similarity or difference between the genres of Iranian journalism and those of other cultures. The paper will report findings that, while some of the genres which operate in Iranian journalism are similar to those which operate in other cultures, the analysis of the articles revealed that there are some features in the Iranian newspapers which might suggest that certain "new" or at least as yet unidentified genres operate in Iranian journalistic discourse.


Matruglio, Erika
The University of Technology Sydney

Disciplinary positions: understanding fields as valued phenomena.


This paper reports on research which examines differences in highly-rated student writing across senior secondary humanities subjects. The aim is to improve understandings of the literacy requirements for success in the final school examinations (Matruglio 2010). Although the larger project investigates four subjects, I will focus here on just two: the NSW senior secondary school subjects of Modern History and Ancient History. I show how the interpersonal meanings expressed in the different histories vary significantly. Using the system of appraisal (Martin and White, 2005), I identify in general terms the types of attitudes privileged in student writing for both Modern and Ancient History and then explore differences at more delicate levels between the two subjects. Of importance too is variation in what is being appraised and in the types of shifts that students need to manage across differing targets of evaluation within the one subject. The findings highlight the challenges for students as they develop mastery of the resources required to manage the construction of interpersonal stance. Finally, I will explore how an appraisal analysis of the texts reveals school histories as fields of values (Martin, Maton and Matruglio 2010).


McDonald, Edward
University of Sydney

Do we need to revive the concept of a "General Linguistics?" Historical reflections on the shared tenets of modern linguistics since Saussure


The supposedly foundational work of modern linguistics, Saussure's Cours de linguistique generale (1916), was never actually written by its putative author, and with the publication of the full range of sources on which it was based (Godel 1957; Komatsu et al. 1993-97), as well as the recently discovered outline of his approach to language by Saussure himself (2002/2006), it has become increasingly evident that on many matters of substance and emphasis the editors of the Cours underplayed or even distorted the genuinely "revolutionary" nature of Saussure's ideas about language. The banner of "revolutionary" in modern linguistics, however, is normally awarded to Chomsky, who from the launch of Transformational Generative Grammar (1957, 1965), claimed that what had started out as the development of certain trends within American Structuralism (e.g. Harris 1951) in fact represented a radical break with all previous approaches, approaches which it aimed to supersede. While rhetorically Chomsky's approach combined the "maximum ideological power of the comfortingly familiar with the excitingly up-to-date" (McDonald 2008: 191), historically it was Chomsky's seemingly casual reaffirmation of the validity of the categories of "traditional grammar", which he regarded as "substantially correct and essential to any account of how the language is used or acquired" (1965: 64), that marked the most radical break from previous linguistic theories. The generative paradigm that Chomsky launched has consistently demonstrated a largely ahistorical approach to its own linguistic traditions (for the "exception that proves the rule" see Newmeyer 1980), apart from a few carefully selected and selectively interpreted "predecessors" (Chomsky 1966), a stance that only serves to obscure the particularities of its own avowedly "universalist" approach to language.

Through the first half of the 20th century, the concept of "general linguistics" which gave its name to Saussure's famous Cours, although more widely used in Europe than the United States, was understood as providing a shared basis for the emerging discipline, as systematized in various forms on both sides of the Atlantic (Sapir 1921; Bloomfield 1933; Hockett 1958; Martinet 1960/1964; Robins 1964). Post-Chomsky (1957, 1965) however, with the proliferation of various "theories" and "schools", there seems to have been less about linguistics that can be claimed as "general" to all approaches, and the concept has thus fallen out of favour. At the same time, while most contemporary introductions to linguistics pay at least lip service to Saussure as the "Father" of the discipline, the truly radical implications of his ideas have effectively been ignored, especially in relation to his crucial insight that the language system needed to be characterised both psychologically and socially in order to comprehensively capture the nature of linguistic meaning. Now with a much better understanding of Saussure's thinking about language, still developing when he died, it seems timely to revisit the full range of issues he raised about the study of language, and imagine what a new "general linguistics" informed by them might look like.


McGowan, Ursula
University of Adelaide

Seizing the moment for developing a more inclusive higher education curriculum.


The internationalisation of education has been responsible for raising the proportion of international EAL (English as an additional language) students in some Australian universities to a 30% high. The widening of participation in Higher Education, following the implementation of the 2008 Australian Government Review of Higher Education (The Bradley Report)  has also increased the diversity among local students, raising concerns about the readiness of many students for the development of deep discipline knowledge, while struggling with inadequate academic literacy levels.  In this paper I describe an example of seizing and responding to this concern with a form of SFL based genre pedagogy. (Cope & Kalanzis eds., 1993; Macken  & Slade, 1993; Christie & Martin eds., 1997; Martin, 1997; Hood, 2010; Rose & Martin, 2012). The aim of the project was to 'translate' the theory and practice of genre based courses into a series of practical steps that can be embraced by a discipline-based subject lecturer with minimal knowledge or experience of genre theory. This paper describes and discusses the induction of an Engineering lecturer into providing content-specific language development tutorials, and her subsequent follow-up approaches to modify and develop this methodology further on her own in the subsequent year.  The question is posed whether this modification serves more to promote the practices of genre theory than to dilute, or even trivialise them?


Mickan, Peter
University of Adelaide

Curriculum design and renewal: A social semiotic perspective.


This paper examines curriculum design in the context of the development of a national curriculum with reference to language and literacy programs. Within the context of an historical overview of changes in curriculum design over the last fifty years, the focus is on the theories of language and of learning which underpin the changes, leading to a critique of genre teaching and of the teaching and learning cycle proposed for teaching genres.

The perspectives for the analysis and critique are the concept of semiotic mediation as developed by Hasan (1996), the task of knowledge-building (Maton & Moore 2010) in pedagogy, and the understanding of learners as participants in social practices using the semiotic resources of language. The paper proposes the need for curriculum design and renewal which situates instructional texts in the social practices of communities (Mickan 2012).


Newbigin, Alana, Michelle Mills, Maria Wheelton & Katrina Woodman
Mt Waverley North Primary School

Tim Peters, Maureen Theobald
Mt Waverley Secondary College

"I don't think I'm hopeless at grammar": Reports from Victorian teachers in the Grammatics Project.


(Note: This is one of two presentations by teachers in the Grammatics Project, a large-scale project funded through the Australian Research Council which is led by Mary Macken-Horarik co-investigated with a research team including Kristina Love and Carmel Sandiford at the Australian Catholic University in Melbourne and Len Unsworth at Griffith University in Brisbane.)

Grammar has long been a fraught aspect of English in both primary and secondary schools, with many teachers both dreading teaching it and complaining that they have had insufficient support in learning about it and how to use it effectively.  With the Australian Curriculum for English and its focus on learning about language, many teachers are now seeking ways to develop their own knowledge about language in ways that support their students in the literacy and literature demands of the curriculum.

In this presentation, teachers involved in an ARC-funded project will report on their own growth, and that of their students in Years 4, 6, 8 and 10, as they undertook intensive professional development over a two year period, based on the principles of 'using grammar to think with' (Halliday, 2002:242). This PD involved teachers using selected tools from Systemic Functional Linguistics 'for thinking with', to explore the structures and language features of the narrative, persuasive and response texts of schooling.

Representative groups of teachers will report on how they have taken up the ideas workshopped through the two years of the project as they engage with narrative, persuasion and text responses in ways that are meaningful for their students, their curriculum development and their teaching. Focusing on relevant aspects of the language systems, in both verbal and mulitmodal forms, the teachers will provide vignettes of their practice, offering insights into what aspects of SFL they selected and why, how they taught their students about these aspects, and what difference it made to their practice.


Ngo, Thu
University of New England

The deployment of Appraisal resources in English spoken discourse by Vietnamese graduate students in Australia.


International students from a non-English speaking background often have problems expressing attitudes precisely and effectively in English. Not being able to express what they think and feel prevents international students from adjusting easily to the host culture and integrating socially with the locals, including local students. This paper is going to present findings of a research about the deployment of Appraisal resources in spoken discourse about academically related topics by Vietnamese graduate students in Australia. The data were analysed using the adapted Appraisal framework (Martin and White 2005; Bednarek 2008; Hood, 2010) with technical support of the UAM Corpus Tool (O'Donnell 2008). The research findings provide evidential bases for the need to stretch and refine some aspects of the current Appraisal framework.


Nguyen, Hanh
University of Woollongong

Female sexual desires and needs in Olga Masters' "The Lang Women."


The themes and subjects of Olga Masters' fiction are various, but often they engage with issues of women's domesticity and female sexuality: the daily effect of feminine roles in women's familial and social life, and the claims of bodies and sexuality as a potential message to empower through experience and knowledge and to gain agency and self-representation. In this paper, I am writing about Masters' representations of female sexuality in "The Lang Women" not simply to strengthen a political point on women's equality, but because I feel that the themes of femininity and female sexuality are obvious in Masters' work. These themes need to be considered, and not mentioning them may distort her work. Masters' fiction, written by herself as a woman and usually about and for women, seems to me to signify a feminist perception of gender and sexuality.

The current paper will employ the methods and the suggested set of linguistic tools adapted from Halliday and his associates' theory on Transitivity to find out how female sexual desires and needs during the 1930s are depicted in Masters' writing, particularly in "The Lang Women". The result of the analysis supports the opinions of literary critics: Olga Masters' fiction reveals a central preoccupation in which female sexuality can function as a force that controls and inhibits individuals, but can also empower them.


Noad, Betty
University of New England

SFL Appraisal meets Emotion theory: what are the similarities and differences in accounts of emotional expression?


This paper represents a moment taken to compare similarities and differences between two theoretical models relevant to the multisemiotic analysis of emotional expressions in digital texts, specifically, SFL description of Appraisal (Martin & White 2005) and emotion theory proposed by cognitive psychologist (Frijda 2007). This trandisciplinary   approach  was  required,  to establish theoretical clarity and consistency  in  the  concepts,  terms  and  definitions  used  to  analyse  types  of emotional meanings expressed by English wordings,  intonation, and instrumental music, on six film trailer soundtracks (Gabrielsson & Juslin 2011; Halliday & Greaves 2008; van Leeuwen 1999). The study responds to a moment now in Australian English education, requiring explicit teaching about attitudinal meanings expressed by sound in multimodal texts.

The  similarities  and  differences  are  compared between the two  models,  with respect  to  the  textual  analysis  of  sources  (self, others), emotional objects (triggers,  targets),  evaluations   made  to  interpret  their  meaning  (appraisals, judgements), the concerns, or values, of  individuals (eg. security, well-being, life goals),  the  expression  of  valenced  types  of  emotions  (anger,  fear,  sadness, happiness) and the intensity of emotional expressions (strong, mild). In particular, the classification, definition and labelling of emotion types is examined. From the comparison,  the  implications  for  future  SFL  research  into  multimodality  are considered.


O'Brien, Annemaree
University of New England

Designing multimodal meaning: students using focalisation 'know-how' to create interpersonal relationships in 3-D animation narratives.


Effective storytellers make considered choices across many levels to shape the story they want to tell. Focalisation, the choice of perspective through which the story is told, enables the author to shape how the viewer relates to characters and events in the unfolding story and can add colour, richness and emotional layers. This paper discusses an investigation into how middle years students can use semiotic knowledge of focalisation in their 3-D animation narratives to manipulate viewer position in relation to characters and events at different times; and how this meaning is realised using moving image modal resources. I discuss research findings which indicate that focalisation 'know how' can assist students to make considered and effective choices in their animation narratives to create and manipulate interpersonal relationships between text participants - between the characters within the text; and between the viewer and characters.


O'Sullivan, Daniel
Navitas English

Explorations in semantic waves: surfing from SFL and LCT to AMEP.


Addressing the theme of 'seizing the moment', this workshop examines recontextualisation and application of Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) and Legitimation Code Theory (LCT) in the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP). Providing free English language courses to eligible migrants and humanitarian entrants, the AMEP aims to help students gain English language proficiency through 'integrated, targeted and well-designed programs that support clients in their transition to Australian life' (Aust Govt. 2012). These programs have been heavily influenced by SFL and 'Sydney school' genre pedagogy and follow genre-based curriculum and assessment, the Certificate of Spoken and Written English (CSWE). As AMEP students progress towards CSWE III, they are expected to gain control of changes in Mode (from spoken to written) and changes in Field (generalized - specialized - technicalised). In the classroom, teachers often face frustration due to gaps in student knowledge of both language and content, and due to their students' struggles with gaining language proficiency. To effectively address this issue involves understanding what forms of 'knowledge' are legitimate and how these are regulated (Maton & Muller 2007).

Drawing on inter-disciplinary work from SFL and LCT by Martin, Maton et al (2013), this workshop examines the recontextualisation of research from 'Pedagogies for knowledge-building: Power words, power grammar, power composition', presented at ISFC39 at UTS, as a workshop entitled 'Building knowledge in the CSWE classroom: Power words and power grammar', presented to AMEP teachers at an in-house Professional Development day. There are two parts to the workshop: first, the manner in which the notion of semantic waves (Maton 2013) was recontextualised for AMEP teachers and second, how these strategies have been employed in the AMEP classroom to build student knowledge of topic-based vocabulary (Power Words), through grammatical structures (Power Grammar), across spoken and written English.


Pessoa, Silvia, & Natalia Gatti
Carnegie Mellon University, Qatar

Different Trajectories to Undergraduate Literacy Development: Student Experiences & Texts.


This presentation reports on different trajectories to academic literacy development by presenting four case studies of multilingual students at an English-medium university in the Middle East. While previous studies have documented literacy development at the primary and secondary school levels (Christie & Derewianka, 2010), there is a limited body of research on writing at the undergraduate level. Recently, drawing on systemic functional linguistics and genre pedagogy, the work of Dreyfus (2013), and Humphrey and Hao (2013) as part of the SLATE project (Mahboob, Dreyfus, Humphrey and Martin, 2010) has shed light on the nature of disciplinary writing and writing development at the undergraduate. However, there is much to learn about the developmental trajectories of multilingual students.

The presenters will describe the college experiences of four students and present longitudinal analysis of their writing over four years in the disciplines of business administration and information systems. The findings suggest that students enter the university with differing pre-college experiences that shape their college experiences and impact their rate of development. Systemic Functional Linguistics (Halliday, 1984) analysis of student writing shows development as student writing becomes more academic (with increasing use of abstractions), analytical (with increasing use of evaluations), and better organized.


Phillips, Melissa, & Annalisa Vassallo
Cardijn College, South Australia

Functional Fiction: Developing narrative language skills in the Middle Years.


This workshop is a practical demonstration of how explicit teaching of functionally oriented grammar and other English as an Additional Language strategies were used to develop the complexity of Middle School students' language choices in the narrative genre. The workshop will offer participants the opportunity to explore elements of David Rose's Reading to Learn pedagogy in practice (including Preparing for Reading, elements of Detailed Reading, Joint Construction and Independent Construction). It demonstrates how the strategies can be implemented to provide equitable access for all students to the educational outcomes promised by the Australian Curriculum. The workshop will also illustrate scaffolding of students' understanding of sentence structure through explicit teaching of processes, clauses and simple, compound and complex sentences. The presenters will share with participants a number of the resources used in this unit which can then be implemented or modified for their own practice.


Roehrich, Leo
Marshall University, United States

A Word is Worth a Thousand Pictures: Intersemiotic Evaluation in University Science Textbooks. A Systemic Functional and Multimodal Discourse Analysis.


Images are an invaluable medium in science textbooks for clarifying confusing concepts and establishing a visual foundation for field related topics. The integration of image and language within a single unit of discourse builds a larger meaning than the two semiotic forms are capable of producing separately. Visual representations are chosen for their functional value in aiding linguistic explanation and also for their aesthetic value in textual enhancement. Aesthetic choice is a matter of subjective opinion. Although science writing is generally classified as objective, authors embed personal opinion in written and visual discourse. The choice of visual medium has a profound effect on the author's linguistic choices, which manipulates the reader's interpretation of discourse. Through the application of the Systemic Functional Linguistic framework in conjunction with Systemic Functional Multimodal Discourse Analysis to university undergraduate level science textbooks, analysis indicates that not only do science textbook authors use images to evaluate in-text subjects, but also to reference images with heightened subjectivity. Findings further demonstrate that science authors use evaluative language to direct reader interpretation of the image using patterns of evaluation which is contingent upon the medium of the image and the functional relationship between image and language.


Salomonsen, Lars Reidar, & Winnie Ostergaard
University College of Northern Denmark

Developing a language-based teaching of Maths in primary school using the mode continuum as a teacher planning tool.


This paper addresses the issues of development and implementation of a math teaching based on SFL, and especially the challenges of introducing a language-based approach to math students. As teacher trainers our ambition is to contribute to a development of an SFL language-based math teaching sensitive to a Danish educational context. Since 2010 we have developed and implemented a collaborative project for teacher students of Danish as a second language and Maths respectively in our teacher training programme. The objective for the students is to plan and video record a teaching sequence aimed at Math pupils in the Danish school at primary level, using aspects of systemic functional linguistic theory to develop their sequence. The project has been initiated modestly through an introduction to the notion of register, in particular mode, thus focusing on the students' understanding of the notion of the mode continuum and the description of language as language 'in action', 'as commentary', 'as reconstruction' or 'as construction' (Martin, 2010). The selected SFL concepts were potentially used as an area of common ground for the students. In this paper we will present examples of how the teacher students have worked with the mode continuum as a planning tool as well as a reflection tool. Furthermore, we would like to propose/ initiate a discussion of a natural progression of our project in order to ensure further development of the students' understanding of the implications of a language-based math teaching.


Shum, Mark Shiu-kee
University of Hong Kong

Using 'Reading to Learn' pedagogy to teach discussion genre in Chinese to South Asian ethnic minority students in Hong Kong.


This paper aims at exploring the effectiveness of 'Reading to Learn' pedagogy to teach discussion genre to South Asian second language Chinese learners in Hong Kong. After the re-union to China in 1997, learning Chinese has become very important for the ethnic minority students who live in Hong Kong for generations, especially those from South Asian origins (i.e. India, Pakistan, Nepal, the Philippines),. However, the standard of Chinese of those students has continued to be low and there has not been an effective pedagogy to enhance their Chinese writing skills. Based on Systemic Functional Linguistics (Halliday, 1994), Genre theory (Martin, 1999) and Reading to Learn methodology (Rose et al, 2012), a research team led by the presenter (Shum, 2010) identified major genres in Hong Kong school curriculum that students are expected to master. Based on the above research finding, the research team conducted 'Reading to Learn' pedagogy to teach discussion genre in Chinese to a class of ethnic minority non-Chinese speaking students. This paper reports findings of the teaching strategies and the learning outcomes of 'Reading to Learn' pedagogy, using methods of class room observation, interviews and text analysis of students' work. Judging from the results of analysis of students' post-tests, the students showed great improvement in their written work. The findings have important implications for the reform of second language Chinese teaching in Hong Kong and beyond.


Diana Slade
University of Technology Sydney

Health care as an interactive achievement: analysing interpersonal meaning across a hospital patient's journey.


Research into healthcare communication in hospitals is currently underpinned by three main assumptions. First, research is risk focused, aimed at identifying and removing any communicative impediments to patient safety that might cause adverse clinical events or trigger patient complaints. Second, the emphasis is on whether clinical information about patients is transmitted accurately and concisely between clinicians, assuming a monologic and monosemic ideational model of communication as 'information transfer'. Third, research primarily employs quantitative and positivist methods, relying on the statistical analyses of data arrived at by abstracting from experimental studies, interviews, surveys or observations. Outcomes of such research are typically information checklists or genre staging communication protocols.

The SFL-inflected critical discourse analysis approach that we take to healthcare communication departs from very different premises. First, while we acknowledge that it is essential to identify risks to patient safety and satisfaction, we suggest that research must also account for the fact that most of the time most hospital patients receive satisfactory clinical care and leave hospital alive and grateful. Second, we argue that any insights into healthcare communication can only come from the close-up linguistic analysis of naturally occurring interactions as these unfold dynamically in authentic contexts. Third, we view such authentic interactions as semantically complex achievements in which both ideational and interpersonal meanings are negotiated simultaneously by participants whose interests, sociolinguistic backgrounds and semantic orientations may differ significantly.

In this paper we apply our approach to analyse eight sequential observed and audio- recorded interactive events with and about 'Belinda', an 18-year-old public hospital patient. We demonstrate the critical impact of interpersonal meaning on Belinda's safety and satisfaction by exploring:

  • the exchange structure, speech function and appraisal choices clinicians of different seniority and specialisms make when interacting with her, particularly to move towards a provisional diagnosis
  • the systems of involvement - particularly humour, technical/common-sense lexis and figurative language - clinicians draw on to talk about Belinda and to attempt to include her in discussions of her care.

We conclude by arguing that communicative risk is as much an interpersonal as an ideational phenomenon. To produce useful outcomes that improve patient safety and satisfaction, research must look at how participants deploy interpersonal as well as ideational resources to interact in the real and complex contexts of our public hospitals.


Stanley, Alexander
Macquarie University

Deconstructing Interactive Frames: encoding empathy and scripting solidarity on Twitter.


This paper discusses the distinction between the linguistic resources of empathy and solidarity as they apply to the attitudinal positions of their authors.  The context for this discussion is the Australian National Broadband Network (NBN) as it is discussed by the media, politicians (Hansard), and the community (primarily on Twitter, a micro-blogging social networking service).   To maximise available data and analytical depth, the focus is divided between both the technological and political discourses; both of these discourses are considered in parallel, with a timeline rendered to demonstrate the significance of history in the detection and diagnosis of solidarity and empathy (both in the changing of minds, and in terms of sequencing events).  Using this timeline, this paper explores the positions of individual (anonymised) participants, whose public micro-posts either hold or shift, demonstrating their position to be either one of empathetic discourse (i.e. an understanding of views), or one of genuine solidarity.   Finally, this paper highlights the benefits and detriments of technology-driven resources like Twitter, discussing how and why the use and availability of discourse in an historically accessibly format aids interaction, and provides accountability (for both analysts and its consumers).


Thomas, Damon P.
University of Tasmania

Persuasive writing genres from two theoretical perspectives: Positioning students for success on the NAPLAN test.


Since 2008, Australian Year 3, 5, 7 and 9 students have been required to sit a series of annual tests, known as the National Assessment Program - Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN). Although the NAPLAN writing component began with a focus on narratives, the 2011, 2012 and 2013 tests sought to assess students' persuasive writing skills. In these years, students were broadly asked to write a 'persuasive text' in response to a given prompt, however upon investigation, each year's prompt suited a different persuasive genre. Due to this variation, students who were only prepared for one style of persuasive writing were not positioned for success on the test. An example of this could be seen when numerous students reported difficulty with the 2013 test, which asked them to write about a person who deserved to receive a hero award. This presentation aims to address the issue by outlining a number of persuasive genres commonly encountered in schools, grounded in two complementary language theories: Systemic functional linguistics (SFL) and Classical Rhetoric. The content presented will be of particular interest to primary and secondary school teachers, and parents with children who are in the NAPLAN year range. It is hoped that the practical knowledge provided will be useful in positioning students for success on future NAPLAN tests, in addition to other persuasive writing tasks.


Thomson, Elizabeth A.
University of New South Wales

'We are icons of Australian society'. Utilising iconography to perpetuate a cultivated gaze in the Australian Defence Organisation (ADO).


How does Australia produce a Defence Force made up of men and women who are prepared to go to war and possibly sacrifice their life for the protection and security of their nation? The answer lies in part in the language practices of iconography (Tann 2009 and 2010).  This paper looks at how the orchestration of selected values, people and histories work in concert to build 'ideal' identities and a sense of community around a common purpose among the men and women of the Australian Defence Organisation.     How do they 'seize a commitment' and thereby the individual for the work of security and protection? The paper  will describe the kinds of values and oracles of Defence identities, noting those that are shared  between the Services of Navy,  Army and  Air  Force  and  those that  set  each  Service  apart. This use of iconography serves as one example of how language is implicated in the construction of a knower code distinguished by a cultivated gaze (Maton 2013).


To, Vinh & Thao Le
University of Tasmania

Lexical Density and Readability - A Case Study of English Textbooks.


This paper reports on a study which investigated the lexical density and readability of four texts from English textbooks Active Skills for Reading at elementary, pre-intermediate, intermediate and upper-intermediate levels. This study aimed to find out the levels of lexical density and readability among selected reading texts in English textbooks and the relationship between them. It also identified the changes of lexical density and readability across levels of the texts in English textbooks. The study applied three methods in determining lexical density and readability as proposed by Halliday (1985), Ure (1971) and Flesch (1948).The analysis revealed that three of the four reading texts were of high lexical density, apart from the text for elementary level according to Halliday's method. In terms of readability, the levels of texts corresponded to readability levels. However the highest level did not entail the topmost readability. There was little evidence of an increase of lexical density and readability in accordance with the increase of text levels as well as little indication relating to the connections between text levels, readability and lexical density. With reference to the methods employed, Halliday's measurement of lexical density - based on the clause - had a moderate correlation with Flesh's Reading Ease Scale, and a weak correlation with Ure's method, whereas Ure and Flesch's formulas showed no correlation. These findings suggest that, contrary to the common sense that lexical density, the typical kind of complexity in written language (Halliday, 1985), may increase steadily with the text levels and their readability, there was no strong relation between them in the reading comprehension texts in this study. It is argued that the linguistic complexity of texts in English textbooks may depend on other grammatical aspects rather than lexical density.


Thwaite, Anne
Edith Cowan University

Developing Teachers' Knowledge About Language (KAL) through reflective practice.


There is a long tradition of SFL investigation of classroom discourse, continuing up to the present with work such as Christie & Derewianka (2008), Rose & Martin (2012) and Gibbons (2006), who specifically deals with ESL. There is also much current work on teachers' knowledge about language (KAL); this is especially the case in Australia at the moment with the introduction of the new Australian Curriculum (AC). This paper attempts to explore the connections between these two knowledge bases that teachers have:

(i)  teachers have knowledge about spoken discourse, although sometimes only intuitively, which comes from reflecting on their own classroom practice and on interactions with their students

(ii)  teachers have some knowledge about language as an object, usually including the text structures of particular school genres and knowledge of sentence structure and word classes.

The presentation will outline some of my work with pre-service teachers (PSTs) assisting them to reflect on their own discourse (mainly at the level of discourse semantics) and also to develop their KAL (mainly at the grammatical level). The paper will describe how PSTs were enabled to develop their KAL by putting it into a context that was meaningful for them: discussing their own practice.


Unsworth, Len
Griffith University

Student interpretive responses to picture books: Linguistic and visual semiotic perspectives on multimodal text interpretation and response pedagogy.


As part of an Australian Research Council funded project (Macken-Horarik, Unsworth & Love, 2011-2013), students in primary and secondary schools were asked to write an interpretive response to an illustrated literary text. Following this, their teachers engaged in two sessions of two days of professional learning and undertook professional reading dealing with systemic functional linguistic and related visual semiotic analyses of multimodal literary texts (Painter, Martin & Unsworth, 2013). Some of these texts were in traditional book format and others were also available as movie adaptations. The teachers then planned learning experiences for their students designed to teach them how to analyse the image-language interaction and relate this to the thematic development of the narrative. After several weeks of classroom work the students were again asked to write an interpretive response to an illustrated literary text. In this paper analyses the work by school students are presented and the nature of the pedagogic contexts in which they were produced are briefly described. Variation in the extent to which the student work showed evidence of the use of functional linguistic and visual semiotic frameworks in discussing the literary themes is described and related to the different pedagogic contexts. Implications for understanding the re-contextualization of interfacing systemic functional linguistics and related visual semiotics as a 'good enough' educational semiotics for enhancing teaching and learning about literature in the English classroom are discussed.


Valente, Rosa
St. Martin de Porres School, South Australia

Seizing the Moment, in the Language classroom.


After being involved in two years of professional learning offered by the Catholic Education Office South Australia, I developed a strong interest in the teaching of genre and functional grammar in my Italian classroom. In more recent times, I have incorporated guided reading in Italian and now use this as part of a more holistic approach with students from Year 1 to Year 5, teaching a variety of different genres, in particular, Information reports, narratives, procedures, descriptions and recounts. This approach has not only revolutionised my thinking but re-energized my passion and motivation to teach which in turn has completely changed the way I teach Italian and how my students learn.

In this workshop, I would like the opportunity to show how I 'seize the moment' to build a metalanguage in Italian to help my students understand how the Italian language works to make meaning. I will describe and demonstrate my journey on how I have been working systematically to introduce students to the concepts of processo (process), partecipante (participant) and circonstanza (circumstance) to describe patterns in the Italian language. I will share tasks that I use to jointly deconstruct and reconstruct texts that provide a strong scaffold for students to construct their own texts in Italian.  As well, I will describe the benefits of this approach for the teaching of Italian, particularly the marked improvement in students' writing levels, independence and self-confidence in learning and using another language.


Vidal Lizama, Margarita
University of Technology of Sydney

Exploring the classroom discourse of popular education in Chile.


This paper explores the classroom discourse of one site of popular education in Santiago de Chile, in order to provide a theoretically informed description of this pedagogic practice. Popular education is generally understood, in the Chilean context, as an instance of self- education organized and constituted by working and lower class communities (children, young people, unemployed workers, Indigenous people, etc.), which aims to contribute to the better development of these communities and to promote overall social change. In the Chilean context, popular education constitutes in most cases an informal practice, outside the institutionalized educational system. As such, little or no research has been developed in the last 20 years in relation to this pedagogic practice. Thus, the aim of this paper is to examine the classroom discourse of one subject of one site of popular education, Universidad Abierta, with focus on the construal and transmission of knowledge and participants through language in this specific site. Thus, the paper analyses the unfolding of activity sequences (Rose & Martin, 2012) from both ideational and interpersonal perspectives. This analysis allows identifying specific features in the classroom discourse of this instance of popular education, which contribute to a principled and theoretically-driven description of this practice. In addition, the analysis makes visible aspects that could be further developed in order to better achieve popular education's pedagogic and social aims.


Walsh, Patrick
Independent Language for Learning Consultant

Have Mr Edingly and the pirate mouse had their moment in UK literacy education?


In 1975, the Bullock report exhorted all teachers with the guidance of English teachers - to acknowledge "the part language plays in learning in all subjects."

In 1988 The UK National Curriculum was introduced aiming to "equip all children with the essential learning skills of literacy, numeracy, and information and communication technology and to promote an enquiring mind and capacity to think rationally."

In 2011, the Coalition Government in the UK decided to replace "the current substandard curriculum with one based on the best school systems in the world, providing a world-class resource for teachers and children."

In 2013 the revised NC says that teachers "should develop pupils' spoken language, reading, writing and vocabulary . . . inducting students into the language which defines each subject, such as accurate mathematical and scientific language."

However, between 1998 and 2011 the Labour Government in the UK spent 3.8 billion (GBP) on a reform of National Literacy Education. Many were sceptical, believing the challenge should be to "foster the critical and creative responses of our pupils."

Why do teachers ignore, resist, subvert, misinterpret, selectively adopt, or otherwise distort reformers' intentions?

Since ASFLA 1993, an Australian "Sydney School" informed PD - developed by Dare and Polias intended to "develop teachers' understanding of the role language plays in learning valued knowledge," has had remarkable success in the UK.

How has that PD seized the moment?


Weekes, Trish
University of New England

Exploring commitment of musical meaning in images and verbiage in senior secondary music texts.


In the New South Wales HSC examination for Music, students construe meaning about concepts of music using verbiage and images in their answers.  This presentation draws on doctoral research on the disciplinary literacies of Music to provide a typology of musical images used by students in the HSC exam, including traditional and non-traditional and graphic notation, tables and graphs. The affordances of images will be explored to show the kinds of musical meanings committed in images, especially regarding temporal specification. Images seem to facilitate a 'meta' perception of the music as a whole, as well as enabling detailed specification of 'moments' in the music.  This research has implications for our understanding of the knowledge structure of music as well the role of image as a valuable semiotic resource in music education.


Wheeler, Penny
Australian Catholic University

Starting to talk writing: tracing approaches to academic English development across the institution using SFL.


The introduction of post enrolment language assessment (an entry-level academic English written diagnostic) into a higher education institution creates new conversations around student writing and new collaborations between staff from across the institution. One challenge for these collaborations is for staff from different disciplines and roles across the higher education institution - language instructors, academic advisors, academic developers, and discipline experts - to develop a common language to talk to each other and to the students about discipline-specific writing tasks and writing development. Seizing the opportunity to listen in to the discussion that accompanied the initial phases of this innovation, a cross-functional team charted the metalinguistic terminology used by these new collaborators. A broad analysis of this discourse located the terms they used, which were drawn from different grammatical and rhetorical approaches, against the conceptual frameworks of systemic functional linguistics and its models of realization and instantiation. The analysis looked in part for a developing consensus around the appropriate targets and processes of writing advice and also at how principles and exemplars around academic writing were shared to build common ground.


White, Bev & Anne Hamilton
Catholic Education South Australia

Composing Written Texts Across the Australian Curriculum F-6.


Presenters will describe a project undertaken by the English as an Additional Language (EAL) Team, Catholic Education SA to produce a teacher resource supporting the explicit teaching of written genre.   Composing Written Texts Across the Australian Curriculum F-6 is a resource for educators wanting to support students' development of written English from that required in everyday settings to the more formal technical texts written for specific purposes and audiences. This resource provides insights into the nature of written language as the expectation of complexity increases at each level of schooling. It scaffolds teachers to support students to meet these expectations.

The document aligns with the Australian Curriculum Literacy Capability and the Language and Literacy Levels across the Australian Curriculum EAL/D Students (The Language Levels) (DECD, SA 2012). It provides annotated models which correlate with the language levels and Australian Curriculum: History English and Science. These models are supported by a range of suggested learning activities to guide teachers and students towards an explicit understanding of the language features of each of the genres. Presenters will give an overview of Composing Written Texts Across the Australian Curriculum F-6 and provide examples of how the resource has been used in classrooms in recent trialling.


White, Bev
Catholic Education South Australia

A Cultural Shift: Explicitly Teaching Writing Years 8-12.


Late in 2010, Nazareth Catholic College embarked on an ambitious writing project aiming to have every learning area, in Years 8, 9 and 10 explicitly teaching one genre per semester using functional grammar and a teaching and learning cycle. The purpose of this dramatic shift in pedagogy was clear:

  • To develop skills and competence in written language for all students across the curriculum
  • To improve SACE results for all senior students
  • To support the language and literacy development for the increasing number of EAL students, enabling equitable access to the curriculum
  • To build teacher capacity

This  presentation  will  focus  on  how  the  project  has  successfully  built  teacher  capacity,  resulting  in measurably  improved student outcomes. Presenters will outline the progress of the project, highlighting the key elements which have most influenced a systematic approach to developing writing from Year 12 down, embedding genres in the curriculum and building teachers' knowledge of language and their ability to effectively teach writing. These elements include leadership support, collaborative problem solving, clarifying the responsibility of learning area coordinators and teachers and professional learning with ongoing support. Finally, presenters will evaluate the sustainability of the change and why it constitutes a cultural shift.


Xie, Min
Beijing Normal University, China

Bridging the Gap Between Language Structure and Function in China's English Curriculum Design: A Systemic Functional Linguistic Perspective


China's English Curriculum Standards are a multi-syllabus, drawing on the features of the grammatical syllabus, the functional syllabus, the situational syllabus, the skill-based syllabus, the task-based syllabus, etc. While efforts are made in integrating these syllabuses to meet the complex goals of English language teaching in China, the connection between these syllabuses is loose; that is, gaps exist between language goals in the Standards, such as structure and function, function and situation, knowledge and skill, etc.  Among these gaps, the one between language structure and function has long been the focus as well as the difficult issue in curriculum design. To bridge the gap, the first step is to have a comprehensive understanding about the nature of language, which can be reached by referring to a linguistic theory. Systemic functional linguistics (SFL), as an appliable linguistics, developed from language education and taking educational issues as one of its major research areas (Halliday & Hasan 1985), has long been adopted as a guiding theory for curriculum design.

The paper defines language structure and language function goals in China's English curriculum design within the framework of SFL. It is believed that the multi-functional and multi-stratal view of language in SFL can synthesize the two goals into one. And possible ways of integrating the two goals are put forward. For example, language functions in China's English Curriculum Standards can be re-categorized according to the three metafunctions in SFL (i.e., interpersonal, ideational and textual). The aim of the study is to arrive at a clear understanding of the goals concerning language structure and function so as to be able to fill the gap between them.


Zenuk-Nishide, Lori
Kobe City University of Foreign Studies, Japan

Andrea Paul
Monash University

Teaching and Assessing Genres of Spoken Interaction.


Conversation has been conceptualised as unstructured; therefore difficult to teach or directly assess. However, analysis of interaction genres including conversation (Eggins & Slade 1997), argument or negotiation (Putnam 2010), in terms of moves, language and pragmatics provides an explicit syllabus for teaching and assessment of these essential genres.

This study describes and evaluates an instrument streamlining teaching, learning, feedback and assessment of spoken interaction in discussion genres. Frameworks include Systemic Functional Linguistics, interactional sociolinguistics, and intercultural communication theory, supporting deep acquisition of understandings and skills, particularly for learners less able to acquire second language interaction skills intuitively. The instrument evaluates opportunities examinees have to demonstrate conversation management in a test of discussion, the discussion focus test, and how both learners and examiners are enabled to assess and evaluate speaker performance (Paul & Zenuk-Nishide 2011, Zenuk-Nishide 2011).

The challenge is to create an instrument that 1) is based on models of what it means to be able to discuss, 2) reflects the performance goals of a communicative curriculum providing leaners and teachers diagnostic information, 3) supports objectivity in rating, 4) can be adjusted for speaking proficiency levels, 5) can be applied to any topic, genre or curriculum, and 6) can be used by teachers, assessors, and non-native speakers with training.