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Making history in Malaysian schools: how the pedagogic discourse of history functions in Malaysian classrooms

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This paper explores how the discourse of history 'works' in the context of Malaysian junior-secondary education. Using the tools of systemic functional linguistics, a representative selection of school texts is deconstructed. By focusing on the intimate relationship between ideology, context, and text, characteristic purposes and their generic, discourse and lexico-grammatical realizations are identified, described, and interpreted, and comparisons made with the results of Australian studies. The disciplinary purposes of generalization and interpretation are realized in the Malaysian texts through similar genre selections and patterns to those operating in the Australian context. However, the Malaysian discourse avoids the argumentative exposition and high levels of abstraction needed to support the work of interpretation and argumentation. Such differences are motivated by Malaysian ideological and contextual demands.
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Keywords: Malaysia; discourse analysis; history curriculum; textbooks

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2007-04-01

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