Linguistics experts call for renewed focus on language

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Learning teaching linguistics

Linguistics and literacy experts are deeply concerned that a focus on marketing and testing regimes is compromising attention to equity, excellence and deep learning in current educational discourse.

They have called for a renewed focus on language with an equitable educational agenda that lifts student achievement whilst ensuring powerful learning for disadvantaged students.

Dr Sally Humphrey from the Learning Sciences Institute Australia (LSIA) at Australian Catholic University (ACU) said ensuring classroom teachers have the knowledge and skills to deliver language education must be seen as a top priority.

“We continue to hear of the failure of our institutions to improve educational outcomes for disadvantaged students and we know that we must do better,” Dr Humphrey said.

“No one doubts that literacy is important to effective participation in school learning and to wider contexts of communication beyond school walls.

“We simply have to find ways to provide high challenge, high support language teaching for these and for other students likely to fall by the wayside.”

LSIA is bringing together leading researchers and teachers to share innovative practices and address these challenges of educational justice at the 2016 Australian Systemic Functional Linguistics Association (ASFLA) Conference to be held in Sydney this September.

The ASFLA Conference, running 27-29 September at ACU’s North Sydney campus, will be highlighted by presentations from leaders in the field of educational semiotics, including Professor JRM Martin, Associate Professor Jennifer Hammond and Professor Peter Freebody – regarded as the creator of the blueprint for English in the Australian curriculum.

They will join leading ACU experts in Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) Professor Len Unsworth, Associate Professors Mary Macken-Horarik and Robyn Cox as part of more than 100 presenters for the three-day conference.

A major focus of the ASFLA Conference is the Teachers Day (Wednesday 28 September) where Australia’s leading linguistic and literacy experts across a range of fields within education will present to attending teachers.

The 2016 ASFLA Conference takes place from 27-29 September in Sydney, hosted by the LSIA. Teachers are encouraged to attend and be part of the discussion.

For more information or to register for the ASFLA Conference visit