Language in Action - SFL Theory across Contexts - María Estela Brisk

Language in Action - SFL Theory across Contexts - María Estela Brisk

2. The Role of Meaningful Sentence-level Metalanguage: Insights from Children’s Thinking with Functional Grammar

Language in Action - SFL Theory across Contexts - María Estela Brisk

Mary J. Schleppegrell [+-]
University of Michigan
Mary Schleppegrell is Professor of Education at the University of Michigan. She uses systemic functional linguistics to study the linguistic challenges of learning and children’s language development. With literacy scholar Annemarie Palincsar, she led the Language and Meaning project to support bilingual children’s literacy development across subject areas, and is currently collaborating with Chauncey Monte-Sano to study teacher learning to support emergent bilinguals in social studies. She is the author of The Language of Schooling (Erlbaum, 2004), Developing Advanced Literacy in First and Second Languages (with Cecilia Colombi, Erlbaum, 2002,) Reading in Secondary Content Areas (with Zhihui Fang, University of Michigan Press, 2008), and Focus on Grammar and Meaning (with Luciana de Oliveira, Oxford University Press, 2015).
Carrie Symons [+-]
Michigan State University
Carrie Symons is Assistant Professor in the Department of Teacher Education at Michigan State University, USA. Her research explores the relationship between classroom teachers’ instructional practices and immigrant-origin youth’s literacy and language development in multilingual contexts. Formerly an elementary classroom teacher of 10 years, Dr. Symons prioritizes the building of long-term, mutualistic, research-practice partnerships with local community organizations, schools, and teachers. In collaboration with these critical partners, she aims to identify what teachers need to know to effectively facilitate immigrant-origin youth’s learning across content areas and how this culturally and linguistically responsive pedagogical knowledge is best developed.

Description

Children learning English as they learn school subjects need opportunities to consider how language means as they engage in reading challenging texts. For that purpose, a functional metalanguage can help focus their attention and support comprehension as it also raises their language awareness. In this chapter we report on the ways the Systemic Functional Linguistics metalanguage of Process, Participant, Circumstance, Connector functioned in a fourth-grade classroom in a project that supported teachers in engaging children who were learning English as an additional language in talk about texts. We situated work with the metalanguage in instructional contexts to help teachers achieve curricular goals, making the theory and its tools useful to and usable by teachers. Here we report on the ways the teacher used the metalanguage to engage students in talk about language to construct meaning as they read together. We then report on think-alouds with challenging text and interviews that engaged children from the classroom in deconstructing sentences and sharing their perspectives on the ways functional grammar metalanguage can support them in reading with greater understanding.

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Citation

Schleppegrell, Mary; Symons, Carrie. 2. The Role of Meaningful Sentence-level Metalanguage: Insights from Children’s Thinking with Functional Grammar. Language in Action - SFL Theory across Contexts. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. p. 33-53 Jun 2021. ISBN 9781800500044. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=40627. Date accessed: 20 Oct 2021 doi: 10.1558/equinox.40627. Jun 2021

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