The ‘God’ of Women

The Voice of the Divine, Motherhood, and Philippine ELT

  • Priscilla Angela Tan Cruz Ateneo de Manila University
Keywords: Discourse Analysis, Pedagogy, Systemic Functional Linguistics


This article is an exploration of the lines that connect values education and spiritual beliefs with English language teaching (ELT) practices in the Philippines through the Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) framework of knowledge about language (KAL) (Rose and Martin, 2012). It argues that through KAL, teachers can lead classroom work to the reading and critiquing of the regulative meanings that students receive through the texts that they grapple with. That pedagogical contexts serve socially regulative functions has been researched for many years. Christie (1997) has argued that schools respond to ‘the need to produce morally responsible subjects’ (p. 134). In the Philippines, religion plays an important role in the regulative ordering of society. Catholicism, in particular, finds its way in many contexts. The ELT classroom is no exception as language pedagogy can be a vehicle for carrying faith and/or values related regulative meanings. However, it is observable that whatever forces come into play in the regulative functions of schooling are not necessarily unbiased but perform interested roles that support the socio-political and economic relations of an ‘unequal society’ (Apple, 2004: Loc. 592). The challenge that faces teachers now is how to balance teaching the needed skills while at the same time, appreciating and/or critiquing the regulative messages that texts project in the classroom. This balance is the concern of this paper. As a study of ELT practices in a Catholic context, it argues for the strong need to build knowledge about language in order for both students and teachers to examine, problematize, and critique the meanings that they receive.

Author Biography

Priscilla Angela Tan Cruz, Ateneo de Manila University

Priscilla Angela Tan Cruz is Assistant Professor at the Ateneo de Manila University, Quezon City, Philippines.


Apple, M. (2004). Ideology and Curriculum [Kindle edition]. Retrieved from

Bernstein, B. (1996). Pedagogy, Symbolic Control, and Identity: Theory, Research and Critique. London: Taylor & Francis.

Catholic Church. (1994). Catechism of the Catholic Church: Definitive Edition. Manila: Word and Life Publications.

Christie, F. (1997). Curriculum macrogenres as forms of initiation into a culture. In F. Christie and J. R. Martin (Eds), Genre and Institutions: Social Processes in the Workplace and School, 134–160. London and New York: Continuum.

Christie, F. (1999). The pedagogic device and the teaching of English. In F. Christie (Ed.), Pedagogy and the Shaping of Consciousness: Linguistic and Social Processes, 156–185. London and New York, Continuum.

Derewianka, B. (2011). A New Grammar Companion for Teachers. Australia: PETAA.

Gorgon, E. G., Bermudez, V. F., and Nery, R. (2012). English Expressways III. Quezon City: National Program Support for Basic Education, Department of Education, Republic of the Philippines. (Original work published 2010.)

Halliday, M. A. K. (2009). The Essential Halliday. London and New York: Continuum.

Halliday, M. A. K. and Matthiesen, C. M. I. M. (2004). An Introduction to Functional Grammar (3rd edition). London: Hodder Arnold.

Hasan, R. (2011). Language and Education: Learning and Teaching in Society. London and Oakville: Equinox.

Hood. S. (2010). Appraising Research: Evaluation in Academic Writing. Harlow and New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Macken-Horarik, M. (2003). Appraisal and the special instructiveness of narrative. Text, 23 (2): 285–312.

Mahboob, A. and Cruz, P. (2013). English and mother-tongue-based multilingual education: Language attitudes in the Philippines. Asian Journal of English Language Studies: The Official Journal of the UST Department of English, 1: 1–19.

Martin. I. P. (2010). Periphery ELT: The politics and practice of teaching English in the Philippines. In A. Kirkpatrick (Ed.), The Routledge Handbook of World Englishes, 247–264. Abingdon: Routledge.

Martin, J. R. (1992). English Text: System and Structure. Philadelphia, PA and Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

Martin, J. R. (1997). Analysing genre: Functional parameters. In F. Christie and J. R. Martin (Eds), Genre and Institutions: Social Processes in the Workplace and School, 3–39. London and New York: Continuum.

Martin, J. R. (2010). Semantic variation: Modelling realization, instantiation, and individuation in social semiosis. In M. Bednarek and J. R. Martin (Eds), New Discourse on Language: Functional Perspectives on Multimodality, Identity, and Affiliation, 1–34. London and New York: Continuum.

Martin, J. R., Matthiesen, C. M. I. M., and Painter, C. (2010). Deploying functional grammar. Beijing: The Commercial Press.

Martin, J. R., and Rose, D. (2007). Working with Discourse: Meaning Beyond the Clause. London and New York: Continuum.

Martin, J. R., and White, P. R. R. (2005). The Language of Evaluation: Appraisal in English. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Rizal, J. P. (1996). Noli me tangere. (S. Locsin, Trans.). Makati City: Bookmark. (Original work published 1887.)

Rose, D., and Martin, J. R. (2012). Learning to Write, Reading to Learn: Genre, Knowledge, Pedagogy in the Sydney School. Sheffield and Bristol: Equinox.

Rothery, J. and Stenglin, M. (2000). Interpreting literature: The role of appraisal. In L. Thompson, G. (2004). Introducing Functional Grammar (2nd edition). London: Hodder Education.

Unsworth, L. (Ed.) (2005). Researching Language in Schools and Communities: Functional Linguistic Perspectives. London and Washington: Cassell.
How to Cite
Cruz, P. A. (2019). The ‘God’ of Women. Linguistics and the Human Sciences, 13(3), 316-337.