RE: Challenge to Christie in school instruction

From: von Brevern Hansjoerg (
Date: Wed Sep 15 2004 - 14:29:24 PDT

Dear Peter,
thank you for this nice link,
best regards,

-----Original Message-----
From: Peter Smagorinsky []
Sent: Thursday, September 09, 2004 3:27 PM
Subject: Re: Challenge to Christie in school instruction

I know that Gordon Wells has made the Halliday/LSV connection. see e.g.

At 07:20 PM 9/9/2004 +0700, you 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?

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 </blockquote></x-html>

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