analysis, social organization, classroom talk

Saturday, December 25, 2004

why talk-in-interaction?

I date my interest in talk-in-interaction back to a late evening lecture in a grad diploma course that i was completing at the University of Technology (Sydney) some years ago. The lecturer, John McIntyre, examined Hugh Mehan's seminal classroom research exemplified in Mehan's "Learning Lessons". At the time, I was taken completely by the nuances of classroom interaction that Mehan detailed. I went on to use my reading of Mehan's book to inform a small study of classroom interaction during a card game involving ESL students.

the interest in classroom talk stayed with me when i shifted from classroom teacher to academic. my PhD research examined social interaction in the classroom furing independent writing. it was informed by aspects of Mehan's work but more broadly, by conversation analysis. The focus for conversation analysis is talk, or more accurately talk that is produced during the course of everyday interaction. Conversation analysts refer to this as talk-in-interaction.