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Functional Grammar: What does a group of year 4 students know about functional grammar: Both implicitly and explicitly

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posted on 2022-08-22, 22:56 authored by K D Casey

With the introduction of the English in Year 1 to 10 Queensland Syllabus in 1991, (hereafter known as the Syllabus), there came a lot of change in the teaching of English in Queensland Schools.

By looking at the Syllabus for today's schools, many differences can be seen if compared to the syllabus written in the 1960s and 1970s. Curriculum guidelines of the past have stressed the wisdom of promoting growth through four language modes or skills - listening, speaking, reading and writing (Christie, 1990). Unfortunately, they did not go further to address the wider issues of the purposes in using these modes, or how they relate to each other and to a wider audience and context. The Syllabus today has a strong emphasis on making these links - all language must be viewed as purposeful and in relation to a context.

Such an emphasis can be seen to derive from a theory of systemic functional linguistics. These approaches are based on the belief that language develops to meet the needs of people in given contexts (Old Dept of Ed, 1994). A more detailed discussion of such approaches, and the interpretation of these approaches within the Syllabus, is included in the following chapter (Chapter Two - Literature Review).

In my role as Regional Curriculum Consultant, Central Highlands (Catholic Education), I was involved in the process of schools preparing school -based English programmes, with the new syllabus as the guide. This document challenged schools to look at planning in a new way known as the five part framework. The parts included Assumptions about English, Assumptions about English learning and learners, Scope and Sequence, Learning Activities and Evaluation. This document also challenged teachers to apply a functional approach to the teaching of English.



Central Queensland University

Place of Publication

Rockhampton, Qld

Open Access

  • Yes

Era Eligible

  • No

Thesis Type

  • Master's by Research Thesis

Thesis Format

  • By publication