I like to think that I’m as into linguistics and theory as much as the next geeky EFL teacher, but the last few months have seriously made me reconsider. To start, I was super excited to begin my MSc at a well-known British university, and although I had never taken a long online course, I’ve always worked well by myself. First module: Grammar.
Here is the ongoing conversation with my own psyche over the past few months as I tried to justify and wrap my mind around what I was doing:
Grammar to start?
So far, so good – I know my grammar.
Wait, Systemic Functional Grammar is something completely different?
No problem, a new perspective for looking at language – this will be great.
Ok, so this seems like a ton of new terminology, differing between authors…
Shhh brain, I’m trying to figure out if this embedded clause has a mental process of cognition with a circumstance of contingency/behalf or not.
So, um… how exactly is this going to help your teaching?
Well, greater awareness…mumblemumble…different perspectives…tell you later
Great, we’ve completed half the course! I wonder what other grammatical perspectives we’re going to see!
Yeah, forgot to tell you, SFG is the only grammar we’re looking at. Noam who?
Yes, final paper completed! 5000 word commentary, another 4000 words in analyses. Time to reflect on how this is applicable to my future career.
I wouldn’t do that if I were you…
Shut up brain, I’m writing a blog post about it.
To be fair, this was only the first of several modules, so the ‘applied’ in my applied linguistics may well come later. And I do realize that teaching/teacher training is only one of the many fields in which the knowledge can be applied. In fact, this is one of the reasons I chose not to do an MA TESOL, as I do like theory and am interested in seeing applications of linguistics and other possible career avenues.
So, if anyone could help me out by explaining how my new-found SFG knowledge can be applied in the real world, it would honestly be much appreciated.
Next up: lexis.