Thwaite, Dr. Anne & Pinfold, Christy
Edith Cowan University, West Australia

Anne Thwaite and Christy Pinfold
School of Language Education
Edith Cowan University
Churchlands campus
Pearson St
Churchlands WA 6018

ph.(619) 273 8364 fax (619) 387 7095

Strand: discourse English / educational

Title: A CD-ROM for teaching functional discourse analysis

This presentation will consist of a demonstration of a multimedia computer program for teaching introductory functional discourse analysis, initially developed for Education students. The program consists of graphic interfaces of various situations, through which users can view videoclips of authentic spoken interaction from various registers, including:

While viewing the video, users can access written transcripts of the discourse as well as questions to guide them in their investigations of the different registers. For example, they may be asked to discuss how power relations are realised in a particular register.

Users can also call up relevant information to aid their investigations, in the form of introductory descriptions and examples of linguistic features, as well as exercises to hone their skills of analysis. This information is organised through the Register variables of Field, Tenor and Mode, and includes:

The exercises also deal with spoken and written language differences and introduce the idea of genre variation in written texts.

The program is currently being trialled with Bachelor of Education students. For many of these students it provides an introduction to computer literacy as well as to aspects of functional grammar. At present it is used as an adjunct to the regular teaching approaches but it is potentially adaptable for independent learning.