The final Literacy Research Discussion Group session for this academic year was on 8th July, when Nancy Guo from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University spoke about her research analysing textbooks used in Hong Kong schools at different levels.
It was great to have a meeting outside term-time during the Linguistic Department’s July residential for the PhD in Applied Linguistics by Thesis and Coursework students, as the room was packed with people who we don’t often get the chance to see together in one place! This is a tradition which we could usefully continue in forthcoming years.
Coming from a systemic-functional linguistics perspective, Nancy spoke mainly about applying Matthiesson’s socio-semiotic model for the analysis of contextual variables, showing how elements of this model were oriented to, to different extents, by textbooks designed for different age groups. She related this to analysis at the lexico-grammatical level, and to changes in the multimodality of the textbooks, and discussed implications for teaching and particularly for textbook design.
This was a stimulating talk, which provoked interesting discussions about the relationships between what is in the textbooks and what actually happens in classroom practice – as you might expect, given the audience and the setting!
Thanks to Nancy for coming, and we are looking forward to the new LRDG programme starting up in October.