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

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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.

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Publication date30 Jun 2016
Publication titleWorld-Building : Discourse in the Mind
EditorsJoanna Gavins, Ernestine Lahey
Place of PublicationLondon
ISBN (Print)9781472586551
Original languageEnglish

Publication series

NameAdvances in Stylistics

Employable Graduates; Exploitable Research

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