Conversations About Texts (EDPZ6730)

The focus of these modules is on teaching grammar in the context of imaginative, informative and persuasive texts in both the primary school and in the middle years. The class will focus on the teaching of texts as the context in which grammar is taught to support meaning. Knowledge about grammar is only useful if students use it to read and write, and recognise how authors, including themselves, can use language to make meaning.

The presenters have worked as TESOL teachers and consultants in classrooms since the last century(!) and recognise a growing need in the teaching of grammar to support implementation rather than merely an understanding of the basics. At the same time, they are aware that many participants will be reviewing their own grammatical knowledge or addressing grammar for the first time.


Kathy Rushton lectures in the Sydney School of Education and Social Work at the University of Sydney and is enrolled as a PhD student at the same university. She has worked as a literacy consultant, ESL and classroom teacher with the DEC (NSW) and in a range of other educational institutions. Her commitment to social justice and multiculturalism fostered her interest in the development of literacy, especially with socio-economically disadvantaged communities.

Joanne Rossbridge is an independent literacy consultant working in both primary and secondary schools and classrooms with teachers across Sydney. She has worked as a classroom and ESL teacher and literacy consultant with the NSW DET. Much of her experience has involved working with students from non-English speaking backgrounds. She is particularly interested in student and teacher talk and how talk about language can assist the development of language and literacy skills.

Reference books

  • Rossbridge J and Rushton K, Conversations About Text (books 1 &2)
  • Derewianka B, A New Grammar Companion
  • Humphrey S, Droga L and Feez S, Grammar and Meaning

Fees and registration

In 2017, each module cost $770 per person (including GST). This fee is under review but may be taken as indicative until further details are known. Individual schools – or communities of schools – that can guarantee a minimum of 20 participants and agree to provide the venue for the workshops, should contact the Office of Professional Learning to discuss a reduced rate.

Module 1 – Literary Texts

Mode: 12-hours' face-to-face + assignments

Session outline

Session 1: Talking and listening – what's the difference (grammatical intricacy and lexical density)
Session 2: Reading – what's going on? (the verbal group)
Session 3: Reading – who and what? (the noun group)
Session 4: Writing – where? when? how? (adverbials and theme)
Session 5: Writing – creating joint and independent texts (sentence structure)
Session 6: The third voice in your classroom – using quality literature (nominalisation and theme)

Module 2 – Factual Texts

Mode: 12-hours' face-to-face + assignments
Prerequisite: Module 1 or equivalent

Session outline

Session 1: Review – grammatical intricacy and lexical density; the verbal group; the noun group; adverbials and theme; sentence structure; nominalisation and theme
Session 2: Describing – linking talking and listening to reading and writing (the noun group)
Session 3: Instructing – joint construction and strategies for writing (adverbials and theme)
Session 4: Recounting – modelled texts and strategies for reading (processes and verbal groups)
Session 5: Explaining – strategies for reading (nominalisation and theme)
Session 6: Persuading – building the field, technical vocabulary (appraisal)


Nina Goodwin | T: +61 2 9351 6329 | E: