“What do you say?” The analysis of classroom talk from a sociocultural perspective 3496
PhD in Psychology, Professor at the Institute of Psychology and Education, University of Neuchatel, Neuchatel, Switzerland
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.
Keywords: classroom talk, discourse analysis, sociocultural perspective, ethnographic observation
Column: Social Psychology
Arcidiacono, F. Note sul metodo osservativo e su alcune
applicazioni in psicologia dello sviluppo. Rassegna di Psicologia, 19(1),
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).
Fele, G., & Paoletti, I. (2003). L’interazione in
classe. Bologna: Il Mulino.
Garfinkel, H. Studies in Ethnomethodology. New York,
Hammersley, M. (Classroom ethnography. Empirical and
methodological essays. Buckingham, 1990.
Heritage, J. (1995). Conversation analysis: Methodological
aspects. In U. M. Quasthoff (Ed.), Aspects of oral communication (pp. 391-418).
Hymes, D. Foundations in sociolinguistics. Philadelphia,
Jefferson, G. An exercise in the transcription and
analysis of laughter. In T. van Dijk (Ed.), Handbook of Discourse Analysis (pp.
25-34). London, 1985.
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,
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). London, 1985.
Mercer, N. The Guided Construction of Knowledge. Clevedon,
Mercer, N. Sociocultural discourse analysis: Analysing
classroom talk as a social mode of thinking. Journal of Applied Linguistics,
Middleton, D., & Edwards, D. (Eds.) Collective
Remembering. London, 1990.
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
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
Psathas, G. Conversation Analysis: The Study of
Talk-In-Interaction. London, 1995.
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). Norwood, 1990.
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, 1986.