3. From Buttocks to Seminal Muscles: SFL-based Physical Education

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

Ruth Mulvad [+-]
National Centre for Literacy, Denmark
Ruth Mulvad, mag.art et cand.mag., is Associate Professor emerita, National Centre for Literacy, Denmark, previously also employed in teacher education in Denmark and Finland. She is a member of the board of the Nordic Association of SFL and Social Semiotics and Chair of the Danish Association for SFL in Education. Her research addresses SFL-based teaching and learning across the curriculum in primary and secondary schools and in teacher education. She has written an introduction to SFL in education, Sprog i skole (Language in school), articles and books about SFL in education, teaching materials and theoretical texts, in Danish and Nordic publications.


As a rule, language may not be considered a significant part of the school subject physical education (PE). However, just like all other subjects, learning PE is also based on language. Without language, students cannot develop their professionalism in PE Learning. This chapter presents a curriculum plan for PE, developed in close collaboration between teacher-educators and PE teachers, that incorporates disciplinary language learning within PE lessons. The paper illustrates this plan through a series of lessons for 4th grade. The plan includes vignettes with explicit language use by teachers and students to better illustrate disciplinary language instruction for teachers who do not have the experience of incorporating disciplinary language. The first part of this chapter presents the method of analysis of PE, the main results of the project and the Register-based planning model (following Derewianka 1990). Based on this model we developed the language-based teaching sequences in PE reported on here. The second half of the chapter presents one of these language-based teaching sequences developed for a 4th grade. The structure in this part of the chapter moves along the Register continuum, first presenting situations close to teaching practice, then taking a more theoretical perspective on the developed teaching sequence.

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Mulvad, Ruth. 3. From Buttocks to Seminal Muscles: SFL-based Physical Education. Language in Action - SFL Theory across Contexts. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. Jun 2021. ISBN 9781800500044. https://www.equinoxpub.com/home/view-chapter/?id=40628. Date accessed: 20 Sep 2020 doi: 10.1558/equinox.40628. Jun 2021

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