Seminar #8 – Myrte Gosen

We are very happy to announce the next Micro Analysis Network seminar by Myrte Gosen, University of Groningen. The talk will be on Zoom on the 23rd of November, 17:00 (GMT +3). 

Registration link:

Instructor, interlocutor and intermediate.
How different teacher roles become visible in classroom interaction practices.

Dr. Myrte Gosen, University of Groningen, the Netherlands

From the outset of analysis of classroom interactions, there was a lot of attention for the typical teacher-fronted or teacher-initiated classroom interactions characterized by the triadic structure of Initiation-Response-Evaluation (IRE) sequences (Cazden, 1988; Mehan, 1979; Sinclair & Coulthard, 1975). These sequences most regularly request known information from students (e.g. Cazden, 1988; Lyle, 2008; Margutti & Drew, 2014; Mehan, 1979). In this type of classroom interactions, the teacher role can be defined as instructor. In these cases, the teacher has a K+ epistemic position (Heritage, 2012) while testing students’ knowledge and evaluating the responses to the initial requests. However, more recent conversation analytic studies on classroom interactions have shown that these forms of teacher-fronted or teacher-initiated interactions are no longer the norm in classrooms (Duran & Sert, 2021). Different classroom activities involve different participation frameworks (Koole & Berenst, 2008) calling for different teacher roles. Involvement in classroom discussions for instance offers room for teachers acting as interlocutors and intermediates.

In this presentation, I will further elaborate upon these teacher roles that offer more room for student participation. I will highlight several studies of classroom interactions offering insights in teacher conduct reflecting different roles of the teacher. On the basis of work done by our Language and Social Interaction group from the University of Groningen, I will show teacher conduct as displayed in:

a) whole-classroom interactions during shared reading at kindergarten (Gosen, 2012), b) classroom discussions during history and geography lessons at upper primary school (Willemsen, 2019) and c) student-teacher interactions in mathematic lessons at secondary school (Breukelman et al, in preparation).

On the basis of these analyses, we will be able to discuss different teacher roles, their relation to epistemics and the relevance of (institutional) context. In line with this, the question will be raised whether one might potentially act as an instructor while at the same time acting as an interlocutor and intermediate in 21st century classrooms.

Breukelman, Gosen, Koole, Van de Pol (in preparation). ‘Is this correct?’ Interactional and pedagogical norms in student-teacher interactions. Cazden, C. B. (1988). Classroom discourse: The language of teaching and learning (1st ed.). Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann educational books, inc.

Duran, D., & Sert, O. (2021). Student-initiated multi-unit questions in EMI classrooms. Linguistics and Education, 65.

Gosen, M.N. (2012). Tracing learning in interaction: An analysis of shared reading of picture books at kindergarten. University of Groningen, Groningen.

Heritage, J. (2012). The Epistemic Engine: Sequence Organization and Territories of Knowledge. Research on Language & Social Interaction, 45(1), 30–52.

Koole, T., & Berenst, J. (2008). Pupil participation in plenary interaction. In J. Deen, M. Hajer, & T. Koole (Eds.), Interaction in two multicultural mathematics classrooms: Mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion (pp. 107–139). Amsterdam: Aksant Academic Publishers.

Lyle, S. (2008). Dialogic teaching: Discussing theoretical contexts and reviewing evidence from classroom practice. Language and Education, 22, 222–240.

Margutti, P., & Drew, P. (2014). Positive evaluation of student answers in classroom instruction. Language and Education, 28, 436–458

Mehan, H. (1979). ‘What time is it, Denise?’: Asking known information questions in classroom discourse. Theory Into Practice, 18(4), 285–294.

Sinclair, J. M., & Coulthard, M. (1975). Towards an analysis of discourse: The English used by teachers and pupils. London: Oxford University Press.

Willemsen, A. (2019). The floor is yours: A conversation analytic study of teachers’ conduct facilitating whole-class discussions around texts. University of Groningen, Groningen.

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