Introduction to Systemic Functional Linguistics by Dr. Ruslana Westerlund


Слайд1Introduction to Systemic Functional Linguistics:

About the trainer: Dr. Ruslana Westerlund was born in Buzhanka, Cherkaska oblast, Ukraine and emigrated to the U.S. in 1995. She received her doctorate in educational leadership in 2013, and now is a researcher and an educational consultant specializing in K-12 TESOL. Since 1995, she has worked at various teacher training universities as well as state and national levels researching, designing and training states and school districts in improving educational outcomes for immigrant and refugee children. Most recently, she has been training teachers in the use of Systemic Functional Linguistics to make language meaningful and visible for their students. She also used SFL in developing the national-level English Language Development Standards for use by the member states of the WIDA Consortium in the United States and internationally. Her TESOL webinar on this topic can be found here. She is the author of several teacher articles which can be accessed in the Journal of English Learner Education and MinneTESOL. Most recently, she co-edited a volume by Routledge Scaffolding for Multilingual Learners in Elementary and Secondary Schools.


  1. Session 1: Genres of Life and Genres of Schooling by Dr. Ruslana Westerlund Description: In this presentation, teachers will be introduced to Systemic Functional Linguistics, a theory of language that puts context at the center and defines language as a dynamic meaning-making system of choices in context. One of those context variables is the purpose of language use which influences language choices we make depending on the purpose (asking for help, telling others what happened, sharing an opinion, etc.). In school, students use language for a variety of purposes. This presentation will introduce the teachers to the common purposes in school subjects such as language for explaining how something works or why something happens (explanations), observing and describing the world (a type of informational report), sharing personal experiences (a type of narrative), persuading someone to do something (a type of argument) and many others. Participants will learn that different school texts (both spoken and written) have different purposes and they are realized as genres and genre families such as explanations, arguments, narratives, procedures, informational reports, and inquiring genres. This presentation will be introductory in nature and will be followed by future presentations uncovering the topic in more detail.
  2. Session 2: Systemic Functional Linguistics: Participants, Processes, and Circumstances. Identifying Participants in Texts and Expanding Noun Groups
  3. Session 3: Systemic Functional Linguistics: Understanding How Language Works. What is Happening: Verb Groups.
  4.  Session 4: The Surrounding Details – Circumstances
  5. Session 5: Formal Grammar vs Systemic Functional Linguistics: What’s the Difference? By Dr. Ruslana Westerlund with guest presenter Andrii Lapin
  6. Session 6: Using SFL to Teach English for Academic Purposes in College Moderated by Dr. Ruslana Westerlund with guest presenter Michael Maune, Ph.D. Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  7. Session 7: