Text World Theory as cognitive grammatics: A pedagogical application in the secondary classroom

Research output: Chapter in Book/Published conference outputChapter


Text world theory has been largely used as an analytical framework within the field of cognitive poetics, and with a few exceptions, its potential as a pedagogical tool has yet to be fully explored. In this chapter, I provide a rationale for teachers using text world theory as a way of understanding the reading and writing choices students make. Drawing on Halliday’s (2002) notion of ‘grammatics’ as a way of using knowledge about language ‘to think with’, I argue that teachers can exploit text world theory’s position as a cognitive discourse grammar to design meaningful tasks and activities that are mindful of the discourse strategies and resources that students use.

I exemplify my argument with detailed reference to a case study from the secondary English classroom. In the first, I draw on Werth’s (1999) treatment of knowledge, knowledge partition, and text-drivenness in the context of a group of students responding to William Carlos Williams’ poem ‘The red wheelbarrow’. Here I show how a grammatics based on text world theory can inform the teacher of the kinds of strategies and resources that students use when engaging with and responding to texts.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationWorld-Building
Subtitle of host publicationDiscourse in the Mind
EditorsJoanna Gavins, Ernestine Lahey
Place of PublicationLondon
ISBN (Print)9781472586551
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2016

Publication series

NameAdvances in Stylistics


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