Re: Challenge to Christie in school instruction

From: Phil Chappell (
Date: Thu Sep 09 2004 - 06:58:10 PDT

My understandings of Christie's work are similar to David's - but I'm
still not clear on the mutual relationships between regulative and
instructional registers. Christie's research points to an ideal
relationship whereby the regulative register defines goals for content,
as a feature of the instructional register (there's some kind of
dialectic operating here). Her work is primarily aimed at curriculum
goal-setting and goal-achievement.

I'm not sure if anyone here read the Bourne article that I posted a few
days back; if you did, you'll see the relationship between one
teacher's practice of moving amongst extant content knowledge and
proleptic schooled knowledge in the classroom.

Again, I wonder (ponder), what might be the problems that this vision
of education poses for "discovery", or "guided discovery" learning
proponents. As David asks below, "Doesn't it even go against the
criticism that Mike cites, viz, that there have to be different
classrooms genres at different levels?"

Too many questions, but questions that need to be addressed.

Peter's links to the valuable work of Gordon Wells provide more food
for thought. Peg Griffin's thoughts on the metaphor of "didacticism"
are, for me, extremely relevant to this topic.

[[And Stanley Wortham's article would be good ;-))

Phil Chappell

On Sep 9, 2004, at 7:20 PM, Phil Chappell wrote:

> Problem-poster David Kellog asked me to forward this response to the
> list. Not sure I agree that there aren't others who are interested in
> intersections of Halliday and Vygotsky (and of course, Bernstein).
> Any takers?
> Phil
> Dear Phil:
> (Can't seem to get it on XCMA--but I'm not sure anybody besides you
> would be interested as Vygotsky vs. Halliday is a somewhat specialized
> interest....)
> One of Christie's concrete recommendations is that classroom genres
> like the "morning news" or "show and tell" should be eliminated, and
> instead children should be given more "structured" genres. She would
> like the "instructional register" to be projected by the "regulative
> register". (Christie [2003], Classroom Discourse Analysis, London:
> Continuum.)
> When Hallidayans say things like this, they mean, basically, that
> registers can "project" each other rather the way that a reporting
> clause like "She said" serves to project the reported one "that she
> had a stomachache". 
> It's true that when a teacher says something like "Listen and repeat"
> we have precisely that kind of projection. It's also true on a larger
> scale: on my desk I have a transcript of a science class in which a
> teacher basically lays out the procedure and the children follow it
> (but the kids do not achieve the desired result and they will have to
> do the "experiment" all over again this Friday!).
> It's a highly monologic idea, isn't it? In Bakhtin, even when you are
> using indirect speech there is two way traffic--the projected also
> projects itself onto the projector, as when Dickens describes a
> character in the sort of language that character would have used to
> describe himself.
> What bothers Christie about the "morning news" and "show and tell"
> classroom genres is that they allow this kind of two way traffic.
> Instead, she thinks that primary school teaching should be much more
> like secondary school teaching.
> I don't know about secondary teaching; at my uni we do primary and
> nothing else. But doesn't this directly infringe Vygotsky's firm
> belief that at different stages of learning there are very different
> kinds of relationships between similar elements (viz. subject and
> object)? Doesn't it even go against the criticism that Mike cites,
> viz, that there have to be different classrooms genres at different
> levels?
> David Kellogg
> Seoul National University of Education

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