In my new role at QUT I am teaching preservice teachers how to use Appraisal resources in the teaching of English. This is a new theoretical framework for me…is there anyone out there, in Queensland, Australia or otherwise, using the tools of Appraisal as a way into unpacking how texts work?
Here are a few excerpts from the teaching materials I am using:
Resources of Appraisal
- Attitude (including affect, judgement and appreciation)
- Affect (registering positive or negative feelings)
- Judgement (implicit or explicit judgements of the behaviour of people rating it positively or negatively0
- Appreciation (expressing positive or negative appreciations of the beauty or worth of people, relationships, artefacts, nature etc.)
- Graduation (gradability; using language to scale the force of meaning up and down)
- Engagement (using rhetorical devices to adopt a stance toward or commitment to the subject matter)
Questions to probe Appraisal
- What kinds of feelings or emotions are evident in the text?
- What judgements are made about human behaviour?
- What appreciations are made about appearances, relationships, places and things?
- How is language used to alter meaning; intensify or diminish (force), sharpen or soften (focus)?
- How are rhetorical techniques being used to position an audience?
(from McGuire, Ray ‘Language matters: Language, Literature and Literacy’ ETAQ Presentation)
It looks like a very exciting framework for drawing together the operational, cultural and critical elements of literacy around the unifying goal of ‘appraising’ the emotional response that a text provokes in an audience. I’d love to hear other people’s thoughts on this.