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ERIC Number: ED517824
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2010
Pages: 153
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 0
ISBN: ISBN-978-1-1241-6213-3
A Discourse Analysis of Teacher-Student Classroom Interactions
Shepherd, Michael Andrew
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Southern California
This dissertation explores the role of classroom discourse in balancing teacher control over lesson content and student participation in educational interactions. The results of a discourse analysis of teacher-student interactions in video-recordings of eight third-grade math and language arts lessons reveal that the role of discourse in this balance has changed during the last 35 years. Teachers used to call on whichever student they wished to, while teachers today generally call on students who bid for a turn by raising a hand. Consequently, control over the right and obligation to speak is now shared between teacher and students. Students individually decide whether to make themselves available for nomination by bidding, and teachers choose which bidding students to nominate. Just as teachers encourage student participation in educational interactions by asking questions, the results of the present study show that students recognize and facilitate teacher control over lesson content by prefacing responses they suspect may be incorrect with hesitation markers and ending them with rising intonation. With these discourse strategies, students emphasize that their responses are submitted for teacher evaluation and also hedge their claims of knowledge as a way of mitigating the face threat associated with their responses' potentially being rejected. As for student-initiated participation, the results show that teachers avoid calling on students who bid to speak outside of teacher-controlled discussions, ignoring 17 of 23 such bids in the present study. Moreover, in three of the six instances in which they accept unsolicited bids, teachers use discourse strategies to constrain the bidding student's contribution by encouraging a brief question. On the other hand, although in general teachers ignore or reprimand over 80 percent of called-out utterances (which technically violate classroom rules), they fulfill nearly 90 percent of called-out utterances that request information or clarification and address nearly 90 percent of those correcting perceived errors, making no reference to rule violation in these special cases. As a result, the most reliable way for students to request information or clarification and to correct perceived errors is to call out. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: Elementary Education; Grade 3
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A