Linguistics Seminar: The tension in the teaching: content and composing in Community and Family Studies
Erika Matruglio, University of Wollongong: The tension in the teaching: content and composing in Community and Family Studies
This paper investigates one teacher’s orientation towards preparing her students for centralised end-of school examinations in the NSW senior secondary subject of Community and Family Studies. While syllabus documents present this subject as ‘interdisciplinary’ and grounded in theories from sociology and psychology (Board of Studies NSW, 2013, p. 6), previous analyses of student writing and of textbook material has suggested that this subject has the potential to trap students in the everyday (Matruglio, 2012, 2014, 2015). In this paper, classroom discourse is analysed using recently developed Systemic Functional Linguistic approaches to contextual dependency, or presence (Martin & Matruglio, 2013, 2014) and condensation of meaning, or mass (Martin, 2017) to demonstrate how classroom dialogue may also position the subject as common-sense despite the teacher’s explicitly expressed perception of the subject as academically rigorous. The data are transcriptions of four one-hour lessons in the final school year which focus on preparing students to write for their final end-of school centralised examination. Analysis indicates an apparent tension between the field of study and the field of examination writing, and an apparent tendency to adjust presence and interpersonal mass up, which seems to prevent the teacher from being able to support the students up into the technical / alter-reality quadrats (Martin 2017) required in high stakes assessment writing. The results have important social justice implications given the gender profile and overall performance of students studying the course, but they also point towards some unexplored potentials of the subject in the civic domain.
Martin, J. R. (2017). Revisiting field: Specialized knowledge in secondary school science and humanities discourse (Vol. SFL).
Martin, J. R., & Matruglio, E. (2013). Revisiting mode: context in/dependency in Ancient History classroom discourse. In L. Zhanzi (Ed.),Studies in Functional Linguistics and Discourse Analysis (Vol. 5). Beijing: Higher Education Press.
Matruglio, E. (2012). Managing Mode: beyond the everyday in Community and Family Studies Paper presented at the 39th International Systemic Functional Linguistics Congress, University of Technology, Sydney
Matruglio, E. (2014). Humanities’ Humanity: Construing the social in HSC Modern and Ancient History, Society and Culture, and Community and Family Studies. Unpublished PhD Thesis. University of Technology Sydney. Sydney.
Matruglio, E. (2015). Cultivating a Gaze: how knowers are made in Community and family Studies and Ancient History. Paper presented at the 42nd International Systemic Functional Linguistics Congress, Aachen, Germany.