Search for an event

View events by

Event Type
Academic units

‘I can talk to the world' Applying a meta-language toolkit for critical social literacies

1 April 2016


Room C1-60
Magill Campus
2.00 pm - 3.00 pm

This presentation reports on the work of teachers and students in an urban multicultural high school as they apply their growing knowledge of semiotic functions and forms to access, deconstruct and transform discourses of power in the academic and civic domain.

The presentation will begin by presenting dimensions of a metalanguage framework, informed by systemic functional linguistics. We then show how teachers and students have drawn on the metalanguage to engage in substantive whole class and small group conversations at all stages of teaching and learning. Of particular value to students’ growing critical language awareness has been metalanguage relating to interactions between interpersonal and ideational meanings. The framework assists students to build on concepts from rhetoric with understandings from evaluative systems of SFL.
The impact of visible talk about language is evident in students’ deeper engagement in independent critical analysis and in their strategic use of semiotic interactions to transform their own literacies. External measures of students’ learning have included significant growth in their performance in high stakes national literacy assessment tasks.


Dr Sally Humphrey


Dr Sally Humphrey is a senior lecturer in literacy education at the Australian Catholic University in New South Wales. Sally has worked for many years as an English and TESOL teacher and teacher trainer. Sally is a co-writer of a number of textbooks written to support primary and secondary teachers to build their understandings of systemic functional linguistics and of ways in which SFL can inform a metalanguage for discipline literacy instruction. Sally is interested in exploring the impact of teachers’ use of a functional and rhetorical metalanguage on students’ engagement with and achievement in literacy. Her ongoing research in adolescent critical social literacies has drawn on SFL’s systems of Appraisal to better understand how persuasion is enacted in the civic domain of young people’s lives.

Current Events

Upcoming events

Areas of study and research

+ Click to minimise