“What do you say?” The analysis of classroom talk from a sociocultural perspective 2721
Аркидьяконо Ф., PhD, профессор института психологии и образования университета г.Ньюшатель, Нёвшатель, Швейцария Гасталди Ф., преподаватель педагогической психологии кафедры психологии факультета педагогических наук Туринского университета , Турин, Италия
The aim of this paper is to study different situations of classroom talk through the use of a methodology called sociocultural discourse analysis, which focuses on the use of language as a social mode of thinking. Specifically, we intend to apply the categories elaborated within the model elaborated by Mercer (2004). In particular, we refer to cumulative, disputational and exploratory talk in order to analyze data collected through ethnographic observations of 8th and 9th classroom grade interactions. We analyze the recorded school situations through the use of conversation and discourse analyses in order to verify the fit of the above-mentioned sociocultural categories. Our hypothesis is that within the Italian school context is possible to find regularities as signs of regulation’s processes within the school activity of social construction, as well discrepancies between the different forms of talk we are referring to. The findings of this study show regularities as concern the cumulative and disputational talk. Concerning the third category we found a level of “proto–exploratory” talk as hybrid category of classroom talk. We argue that the sociocultural discourse analysis is a valid methodology that can be used as a flexible model to analyze different levels of classroom talk.
The need to analyze and understand how spoken language is
used as a tool for thinking collectively is a major topic within the field of
educational sciences. Different methodologies have been elaborated and used to
serve particular research interests, such as to study how people pursue joint
educational activities. In this paper we intend to analyze different situations
of classroom talk, which focus on the use of language as a social mode of
thinking. We position our work within the sociocultural approach of discourse
analysis in order to highlight how language is a cultural and psychological
tool for getting things done. In particular, we will use a specific model of
analysis of classroom talk, in order to verify, in the Italian context, how
useful it could be within a sociocultural perspective.
The collective classroom talk
Often, researchers have examined the structure of classroom
discourse in order to study “what do teachers and students need to know in
order to participate effectively in classroom lessons” (Mehan, 1985, p.
119). As the first feature of classroom life we can consider the event (Hymes,
1974) as a segment of activity that regularly occurs within the frame of school
interactions. Classroom events have unique organizational features, such as
whole-group activities in which participants are assembled together with a
single focus of attention, or small-group activities, in which students can
conduct different activities in separate clusters. Classroom lessons are events
because of their interactional nature and their sequential organization, in
which talking shifts from party to party as the event unfolds and as a
hierarchic structure marked by recurrent behavioural configurations.
Arcidiacono, F. Note sul metodo osservativo e su alcune applicazioni in
psicologia dello sviluppo. Rassegna di Psicologia, 19(1), 2002.
Arcidiacono, F. Ricerca osservativa e analisi qualitativa dell’interazione
verbale. Rome, 2005.
Arcidiacono, F. (in press). Conversation in educational contexts: School at
home and home at school. In G. Marsico G., K. Komatsu, & A. Iannaccone
(Eds.), Crossing Boundaries. Intercontestual Dynamics between Family and
School. Charlotte: Information Age Publication.
Arcidiacono, F., & Pigotti, M. C. L’emergere dell’identità di
adolescenti di terza media e primo superiore nelle discussioni in classe su
temi di attualità. Psicologia scolastica, 4(3), 2005.
Atkinson, J. M., & Heritage, J. (Eds.) Structures of Social Action:
Studies in Conversation Analysis. Cambridge, 1984.
Bronfenbrenner, U. The Ecology of Human Development: Experiments by Nature
and Design. Cambridge, 1979.
Edwards, D. Language in education. In H. Giles, & W. P. Robinson
(Eds.), Handbook of language and social psychology (pp. 476-494). Chichester,
Fele, G., & Paoletti, I. (2003). L’interazione in classe. Bologna: Il
Garfinkel, H. Studies in Ethnomethodology. New York, 1967.
Hammersley, M. (Classroom ethnography. Empirical and methodological essays.
Heritage, J. (1995). Conversation analysis: Methodological aspects. In U.
M. Quasthoff (Ed.), Aspects of oral communication (pp. 391-418). Berlin,
Hymes, D. Foundations in sociolinguistics. Philadelphia, 1974.
Jefferson, G. An exercise in the transcription and analysis of laughter. In
T. van Dijk (Ed.), Handbook of Discourse Analysis (pp. 25-34). London,
Maroni, B. & Arcidiacono, F. The conversation like socialization in
educational contexts. In G. T. Papanikos (Ed.), Education. Vol. III: Primary
and Secondary Education (pp. 333-339). Athens, 2003.
McKinlay, A., Potter, J., & Wetherell, M. S. Discourse analysis and
social representations. In G. M. Breakwell, & D. Canter (Eds.), Empirical
Approaches to Social Representations (pp. 39-62). Oxford, 1993.
Mehan, H. The structure of classroom discourse. In T. A. van Dijk (Ed.),
Handbook of Discourse Analysis. Vol. 3: Discourse and Dialogue (pp. 119-131).
Mercer, N. The Guided Construction of Knowledge. Clevedon, 1995.
Mercer, N. Sociocultural discourse analysis: Analysing classroom talk as a
social mode of thinking. Journal of Applied Linguistics, 1(2), 2004.
Middleton, D., & Edwards, D. (Eds.) Collective Remembering. London,
Ochs, E. Indexicality and socialization. In J. Stigler, G. Herdt, & R.
Shweder (Eds.), Cultural Psychology: Essays on Comparative Human Psychology
(pp. 287-308). Cambridge, 1990.
O’Connor, C., & Michaels, S. (1996). Shifting participant frameworks:
Orchestrating thinking practices in group discussion. In D. Hicks (Ed.),
Discourse, Learning and Schooling. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Orsolini, M., & Pontecorvo, C. Children’s talk in classroom discussion.
Cognition and Instruction, 9(2), 1992.
Pontecorvo, C., & Arcidiacono, F. (in press). Development of reasoning
through arguing in young children. Cultural-Historical Psychology.
Psathas, G. Conversation Analysis: The Study of Talk-In-Interaction.
Sacks, H. Lectures on Conversation. Cambridge, 1992.
Sacks, H., Schegloff, E. A., & Jefferson, G. A simplest systematics for
the organization of turn-taking for conversation. Language, 50, 1974.
Schegloff, E. A. On the organization of sequences as a source of
“coherence” in talk-in-interaction. In R. Freedle (Ed.), Advances in discourse
processes: Conversational organization and its development (pp. 51-77).
Wells, G., & Claxton, G. (Eds.) (2002). Learning for Life in the 21st
Century. Oxford, 2002.
Wertsch, J. V. (Ed.) Culture, Communication and Cognition: Vygotskian
Perspectives. Cambridge, 1985.
Woods, P. Inside schools. Ethnography in educational research. London,