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Home Journal Index 2022-2

Using SFL in Linguistically Responsive Instruction with Multilingual Youth: A Self-Study

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Carrie Symons
Michigan State University, USA


Yue Bian
University of Washington Bothell, USA

 

Abstract
Situated in a community-based summer enrichment program for multilingual, refugee-background youth, the purpose of the present self-study was to explore how teachers could draw upon systemic functional linguistics (SFL) (Halliday, 1978) to provide explicit attention to linguistic form and function (Lucas et al., 2008) in reading comprehension instruction. Data sources included video, audio, field notes, memos, and student artifacts. Through constant comparative methods and discourse analysis of instructional episodes, we found that the teacher’s knowledge of the SFL ideational metafunction informed how she scaffolded multilingual learners' co-construction of the “main idea” with two different informational texts (video and print). This study showcases how teachers can use their metalinguistic awareness and knowledge of SFL to amplify multilingual learners’ metalinguistic awareness, in the context of text-based discussions, to scaffold comprehension.


Keywords
refugee-background youth, reading comprehension instruction, systemic functional linguistics, linguistically responsive teaching, community-based education