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  1. #11
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    Default Re: Teaching functional grammar in Japan

    Quote Originally Posted by johnengteach View Post
    Hi,
    I'm John teaching English in India. My fascination for English is critical by nature. Why it is said that it takes almost eight years for native child to learn English. English grammarians and linguists are not doing enough to make it easy. It might be fascinating to teach English in big cities in India, but it's not easy to make any headway in getting the positive results in the rural places like where I teach.
    John,
    In my first message in this thread I mentioned the approach to grammar teaching in Australia from the Systemic Functional Linguistics paradigm. There has been a big effort to introduce this different approach to grammar in schools in Australia. Functional grammar is well described in "A Grammar Companion - For Primary Teachers" by Beverly Derewianka. This book is directed towards teachers in Australia. I recommend you get this book if you are interested in teaching grammar. Unfortunately, this book is still pitched too high for most of my Japanese students and I have had to 'cobble together' various simple elements I have garnered from various sources. There is a school in Vancouver, Burnaby School, which teaches this functional grammar.
    By the way John I asked you what textbooks you are using in your classes?
    Cheers,
    John Curran

  2. #12
    Zionstyle is offline Newbie
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    Smile Re: Teaching functional grammar in Japan

    I am so fascinated of how Japan and India are trying to use Functional grammar in your English teaching, cool. i am a Thai teacher of English. i've wondered of how to use SFL in the Asian stle of teaching garmmar. how did it start in your country? maybe i ca apply some of it to Thai grammatical teaching.
    Thanks(*_^)

  3. #13
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    Default Re: Teaching functional grammar in Japan

    Dear Zionstyle,
    I am so happy that someone is (perhaps) interested in this subject. My particular interest is Systemic Functional Linguistics and I have just completed a M.Ed(TESOL) with a focus on SFL. It could be helpful to my Japanese students and I think it is - I am introducing simple elements. If you want to discuss it more please contact me offline as we might bore everybody else senseless.
    Regards,
    John Curran

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  4. #14
    Meisje is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Teaching functional grammar in Japan

    Hi Jack in Tokyo

    I was so happy to find your posts. I am doing my very first course of my MA right now and I am trying to get my head around Halliday's Functional Grammar. From what I understand, his theories are concerned with what language does and how it's done and also how the whole social context constrains language (a bit Whorf-ian for me!). But I would love to discuss this with someone who obviously has a more in depth knowledge of it. I'd love to get an overview of Halliday's Systemic Functional Grammar from you if at all possible :) As I plough through these academic texts I get more and more confused. I was going to PM you but as I have just joined this forum, I can't.

    Here's hoping to some more info on SFG before I pull all of my greying hair out!

    M

  5. #15
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    Default Re: Teaching functional grammar in Japan

    Hi Meisje,
    Delighted to get your message. It sounds like you are doing an MA in linguistics per your mention of Whorf-ian. I elected to do SFL because the M.Ed(TESOL) didn't seem to offer anything else challenging. Why,however a TESOL course includes SFL beats me - because it seems not to be used in a practical way at the chalk-face. I am mainly interested in the subject because of its practical applications - when I can work them out.
    Which text books are you ploughing through? I have a stack of books here that I had to buy myself. Why are you studying SFL? I wish I could give you an overview of SFL but wouldn't know where to begin. I'm struggling myself.
    This is not a satisfactory reply but please tell me more about your situation.
    I could send you stuff offline perhaps.
    John

  6. #16
    Meisje is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Teaching functional grammar in Japan

    Hi John

    Thanks for the reply. I also received your PM, thank you! Actually, I relplied to that before I even read this .

    You're right, I am studying Applied Linguistics. I started at the beginning of the year at USQ in Australia. I am an external student. We've been introduced to SFG and it's a hard one when you've been raised on the traditional structural grammar diet.

    All the stuff I've been reading is online through the uni library. The one I've been reading most recently is Structure and Function: A Guide to Three Major Structural-Functional Theories by Butler. It's quite good. I've also read a website devoted to SFG which is really good. However, I am still unsure of the complexities of it all.

    Must keep reading?!

    M

  7. #17
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    Default Re: Teaching functional grammar in Japan

    Hi again Mesije,
    It is great to hear from you. In my two years of studying SFL I have received perhaps three replies from the greater universe. Nobody else seems to be using it in classrooms - most probably not even you will because you are studying it as part of a linguistics degree that covers other areas of linguistics. From my reading of messages on the prestigious SYSFLING forum SFL scholars give the impression that they have found the Holy Grail. Even the great Chomsky's theories are looked down on with disdain.
    John

  8. #18
    Meisje is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Teaching functional grammar in Japan

    Hi John

    Once I get my head around it (who knows when that penny will drop?!) I would like to try and incorporate it into my teaching but I think that step is a while off yet. The language institute where I teach is pretty cut and dry with their approach to teaching grammar. How is your use of SFG in the classroom received in Japan? Do the powers that be stay happy if the students are happy? Or are you your own boss? Are students receptive to it? I might have to join the SYSFLING list to get a broader view on SFL. Do you recommend it?
    M

  9. #19
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    Default Re: Teaching functional grammar in Japan

    Hi Meisje,
    I have five days per week of my own private classes so I can teach whatever I like but ....
    if the classes are not fun,pleasant and full of laughs I lose my students and hence my income. Grammar is a rotten word here in Japan and must be introduced carefully. I have introduced SFL grammar in small and I hope interesting ways. However,last week a respected prestigious professor in Australia said my approach was all wrong and the successful way of teaching is 'top down' not 'bottom up' as in my attempts. This professor has sent me reams of literature supporting his claim and some of it is quite compelling. So it might be back to the drawing board. Perhaps I might try to put together a presentation on this top down approach for a workshop for JASFL in October this year. Sure please join SYSFLING - but it is only for the brand of linguistics known as Systemic Functional Linguistics. The members of this group are astonishingly brainy and I can not understand a word of what they write.
    John

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