Guiding towards register awarenessin an undergraduate EFL curriculumin Italy
The special case of verbal art
This contribution adds to ever-growing research on ‘pedagogical stylistics’, (e.g., Burke et al. 2012). We present a case study describing a register approach to teaching literature, or verbal art (Hasan 1985/1989), to undergraduate EFL students in a Systemic Functional Grammar (FG)-based perspective (Halliday & Matthiessen 2004). Our research is guided by two main goals: enhancing the students’ sensitivity to the peculiar functions of language in literature, as part of a wider curriculum on teaching register awareness, and setting up good practices to monitor and assess the effectiveness of our approach. Thus, we present a set of activities based on Hasan’s (1985/1989, 2007) framework for the analysis of verbal art as a ‘special’ register, which is rooted in FG. We then discuss quantitative and qualitative data related to student perceptions of our pedagogical approach, gathered through specifically designed questionnaires, which were followed by semi-structured interviews when possible. The data illustrate the largely positive impact of the approach on students’ engagement, though not unequivocally: problematic issues and implications for future research are also discussed.
Keywords: Pedagogical stylistics, verbal art, Systemic Functional Grammar, Systemic Socio-Semantic Stylistics, Pervasive Parallelism, student feedback
Published online: 06 November 2020
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