Teaching genre using Functional Grammar
Anh Phan, Laurence Guttmann, Marko Jakic, & Mina Sellton
(Western English Language School)
Wednesday April 28, 4-5:30 pm
This session modelled a systematic and explicit pedagogical approach to teaching genre using functional grammar, the teaching and learning cycle and backward design. Through a persuasive genre, they demonstrated the powerful ways in which this approach apprentices students towards mastering this complex genre by building within them the metalinguistic capacity to make informed and purposeful grammatical choice to effectively persuade the target audience.
The session also gave a snapshot of the Western English Language School (WELS) curriculum, which is underpinned by the principles of:
* functional grammar,
* the teaching and learning cycle,
* practical English, and
* backward design.
Anh Phan is a secondary learning specialist at WELS, where she has taught for 7 years. During this time, she has worked in a team to develop a school-wide curriculum based on genre and functional grammar. She has taught across a range of domains and secondary EAL levels (CL to C3) and has had extensive experience mentoring and supporting colleagues. Anh has a BA specialising in linguistics and has a particular interest in the social and cultural aspects of language.
Laurence Guttmann is Assistant Principal of WELS in Braybrook, where he has taught for over 10 years. He has a keen interest in the complexities and functions of language and how these can be understood and taught. He enjoys the broad range of learning areas that EAL teaching affords, with particular interest in Mathematics and the Humanities. He is passionate about working with his students and colleagues at both school and system levels to contribute to the best possible education for new arrival students that includes academic, social and emotional learning.
Marko Jakic is the secondary curriculum coordinator at the Western English Language School, where he has taught for 8 years. Marko’s pedagogical approach is focused on empowering students to become discerning and successful users of language for specific purposes, across different contexts and with various interactants. Marko has a passion for all aspects of linguistics, grammar, assessment and pronunciation.
Working in this intensive English-language setting with high-needs EAL students revealed the large gap between where students were and what they would encounter once they transitioned to mainstream settings. This culminated in Marko leading a whole-school curriculum redesign focused on maximising student learning through intensive and sustained teacher professional development on explicit teaching, and aligning the new WELS curriculum to prepare students for the expectations of mainstream schooling.
Mina Sellton is the secondary curriculum leader at the Wyndham Campus of WELS, where she has taught for 7 years. During her time at WELS, she worked with a team to develop and implement a new school-wide curriculum based on the tenets of backwards design, genre and functional grammar. She has taught across a broad range of learning areas and EAL levels with a special interest in humanities and literature at an EAL C1 level. She has a wealth of experience in mentoring colleagues, crafting rigorous assessment continua and creating materials that support the WELS curriculum.