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Challenging Boundaries in Linguistics

Systemic Functional Perspectives


Edited By Stella Neumann, Rebekah Wegener, Jennifer Fest, Paula Niemietz and Nicole Hützen

Linguistics, like any discipline, is full of boundaries. However, in nature, as Ruqaiya Hasan points out, there are no clear cut boundaries. The participants of the 42nd International Systemic Functional Congress held at RWTH Aachen University addressed and challenged the notion of boundaries in linguistics in many creative ways. Twenty-one of the papers presented at the congress are collated in this volume. The six sections cover topics that challenge theoretical notions and stances, and explore historical, interpersonal and lexicogrammatical boundaries as well as those between languages and in language development. The volume presents a state of the art overview of systemic functional linguistic theorising with extensions into other theoretical frameworks.

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Language objectives beyond vocabulary: Working with content area teachers for linguistically responsive instruction (Margaret A. Berg / Jingzi Huang)


Margaret A. Berg, Jingzi Huang University of Northern Colorado /

Language objectives beyond vocabulary:Working with content area teachers for linguistically responsive instruction

Abstract: This study examines the change in teachers’ lesson planning and delivery of instruction during a professional development project to increase linguistic sensitivity. The findings show a nuanced development of instructional planning and performance with teachers struggling to identify and teach the sentence and discourse levels of language features for required student outcomes.

1 Introduction

The development of academic language/literacy takes place in specific academic content areas (Gee 2007; Schleppegrell and Colombi 2002; Gibbons 2009). Thus, it is logical for content area teachers to take the responsibility of integrating students’ academic language development and their subject area learning. Instructional planning that focuses on the integration of language and content includes identifying language objectives aligned with the content to be taught and learned. From a functional linguistic perspective (Halliday 1985; Mohan 1986), teachers need to be sensitive to vocabulary, sentence, and discourse features of academic language framing specific content-related language objectives to guide instruction (Gibbons 2009; Schleppegrell 2004). Nevertheless, integration of language and content is a new concept to a majority of content area teachers in the United States. With little to no preparation in working with linguistically diverse learners for academic success (Gandara, Maxwell-Joll and Driscoll 2005; Menken and Antunez 2001), content area teachers are usually struggling when facing the new demands that require them...

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