Publication Details

Derewianka, B. & Jones, P. (2010). From traditional grammar to functional grammar: bridging the divide. NALDIC Quarterly, 8 (1), 6-17.

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NALDIC Quarterly


This paper describes our experiences using systemic functional linguistics to teach English in Australian educational settings over the last three decades. We suggest there is a continuum of approaches to describing language and highlight what we consider to be the significant affordances of a systemic functional grammar for English language teachers. With its dual emphasis on meaning and form, we argue that the model provides powerful tools for identifying curriculum priorities, for designing pedagogy and for assessing learners’ accomplishments and needs. Most importantly, it offers a means of making language explicit to learners in the form of an accessible and flexible metalanguage (i.e. a language for talking about language). However, we also discuss some evolving and unresolved issues arising from our experiences in terms of curriculum, policy and professional support for teachers.