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Discourse analysis is a critical tool used to examine the theory of what interactions take place in a classroom situation. It also helps teachers and educationists to understand what knowledge learning is all about and how talking and interactive sessions influence learners and the degree of positive reinforcement of what has been taught in class. It also helps to practice turn taking while interacting with teachers and peers in the classroom. Discourse analysis is a tool that is used successfully to monitor and improve classroom interactions.
The methodology used for this paper is discourse and conversation analysis in a classroom situation. We will discuss here the strengths and weaknesses of this style of research.
Any audio/video clips used in the analysis and the transcription of the interaction remains valid throughout the analysis.
Research data is based on the outcomes of the conversation sample and not based on prior study or hypothesis. All trends or categories that surface are based on the conversation transcript.
You must use tangible images of your analysis from the conversation or interaction in class.
The transcription of the talk or recorded data can be used to clarify understanding or confusion.
The analysis can include different aspects of communication like gestures or non-verbal communication that emerge from the recorded sample.
This style of research is more suited to short samples of classroom talk. It will be difficult to use these methods to manipulate large sets of data as the process is very time consuming.
Since this research is based on a particular sample it will be difficult to base generalized hypothesis by this method of analysis.
Classroom interaction link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dXn64XvhgoI&feature=related
This video is of an ESL classroom in which teacher-student interaction is demonstrated. The teacher walks into the classroom and greets his students. States the purpose of the class and teaches content and encourages student interactions.
Snippets of the interaction:
Teacher: Okay, so how's it going with teaching you guys today? (There are muted/non-verbal responses from students like nods).
Teacher: Alright, now we're going to work on check questions. The purpose of this class is to practice talking on telephones. Certain things to remember (teacher points to the blackboard to draw out his class plan)
One should ask 'Check questions'. Also concentrate on maintaining normal speed. Especially, when you're on the phone, it can be scary. Example "I want to order some pizzas." Here you must ask in return, something that is called a 'Check question'. So it is, "Oh, you want to order some pizzas? The reply: Yeah, that's right."
The teacher explains where telephone conversations are used. Another point is to setting up an appointment or scheduling a conversation. Here the teacher points towards a student and hands him a leaflet to read out to simulate a conversation in a situation where they cannot see each other.
Teacher plays the role of a Domino's pizza agent on the phone. Phone rings and agent says: Hello. This is Domino's Pizza. How are you today, Sir? Would you like to try the new ---?
Student 1: No, thanks. I would like to order a large pepperoni pizza, with extra pepperoni and extra sauce. Agent: That's one large pepperoni pizza with extra sauce and extra pepperoni, is that correct?
Student 1: Yes, that's right!
Agent: Would you like anything else. And the address is?
Student 1: Ca Avenue 562913903.
Agent: (Confirms the address) the pizzas will be there in 45 minutes.
Student 1: Thank you.
End of first simulation. Students clap to show positive reinforcement.
This video is an example of how the exchange structure is built in a classroom situation. In this video, the students raise their hands and get selected by the teacher. Here, three students get three turns to simulate three different conversations. The teacher evaluates the students and creates a positive response in the process reinforcing positive learning for the student when he says, "So that's the way a conversation goes." Students clap to show positive reinforcement.
The teacher interrupts the student in the first interaction to get the correct address.
Teacher has to start the conversation and stops suggestively to give the student a cue to pick up the conversation from there.
In the very beginning, the teacher starts his lessons by asking how everyone was doing and the students had to respond by either replying or nodding. This shows that the teacher has a dominant presence in the class. Any question that the teacher asks has to be responded to. In case a student is unable to answer a question or responds incorrectly, the teacher gives the other students a turn to respond to the same question. This process of recycling questions amongst the students continues till the teacher is satisfied with the answer. The pattern of interaction or conversation in the classroom is by taking turns, as was demonstrated in this video. This device helps to reduce teacher talk time and gives the opportunity for the students to practice their learning.