analysis, social organization, classroom talk

Friday, February 25, 2005

hear ye! hear ye!

can't think of a better way to share my PhD news than to blog it. received confirmation today that my results are in the mail. Minor corrections. I was speechless for a minute but then erupted in a spate of excitement that (in hindsight) surprised me. I have never taken thhe attainment of academic qualifications very seriously, always enjoying the learning rather than the bit of the paper at the end. On this occasion, however, I have to admit to being chuffed. very chuffed.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

an interesting conference

This conference looks very interesting and I will put in an abstract for it. I haven't written any papers yet from the analysis chapters in my thesis.This conference will provide the right opportunity for "doing" a CA paper since my study involved comparisons between interaction during whole class instruction and interaction during individual student activity.


International Conference on Conversation Analysis (ICCA-06)

May 10?14, 2006 Helsinki

Abstract deadline: September 2, 2005


The theme of the conference is

Comparative Perspectives in Conversation Analysis

In recent years, conversation analytic research has increasingly
focussed on comparison between different kinds of data. Comparative research can involve e.g. comparison of interactional practices in everyday versus institutional talk, in different kinds of institutional encounters, different languages and cultures, different varieties of a language etc. Conversation analytic papers on other themes are also welcome.

The following types of proposals are invited:

* single paper
* poster
* panel session
* workshop


Plenary speakers:

Elizabeth Couper-Kuhlen
Paul Drew
Charles Goodwin & Marjorie Harness Goodwin
Auli Hakulinen & Marja-Leena Sorjonen

Scientific committee:

Anssi Perakyla (chair)
Maria Egbert (DK)
Makoto Hayashi (US)
John Heritage (US)
Anna Lindstrom (SE)
Harrie Mazeland (NL)
Lorenza Mondada (F)
Arja Piirainen-Marsh (FI)
Jakob Steensig (DK)
Tony Wootton (UK)


For more information about the conference
and submission of abstracts, please visit the conference web site:

Wednesday, February 16, 2005


My PhD research examined independent writing in a classroom
that was informed by a "balanced writing program". I enjoyed
sleuthing the literature to discover the beginnings of the program.

One influence was Don Holdaway's natural approach. Here is
his diagram of balanced approaches and materials.

Holdaway's model (1980) Posted by Hello

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

This view of a balanced reading program was used
in the Early Reading In-Service Course in New
Zealand in the early 1980s. It was informed by Holdaway's model.

A balanced reading programme (Ministry of Education, NZ, 1985) Posted by Hello

A Balanced Classroom Approach

most supportive -----------------------------------------------least supportive
modeled-shared-language experience-interactive-guided-independent
(writing approaches)

(taken from the Early Years Literacy Program,
Department of Education, Victoria)

Friday, February 04, 2005

Dominic's writing

Posted by Hello
This text was written by Dominic during independent writing. My analysis of the social organization of independent writing included sequences of talk where Dominic asked the teacher how to write 'like' and 'very'.

Dominic: how to you spell very?
Teacher: (0.4) what does very start ā†‘ with (0.2) veah (1.0)
((Mckiela writing 'a'))
Dominic: ā€˜vā€™((begins to write))

The teacher's response to Dominic's question was a question. It required Dominic to work out the first letter of the word 'very'. The question "pointed" Dominic to the first letter of the word, and was followed by articulation of that letter for him to hear. Dominic's response, to name the letter and to begin to record it, shows his familiarity with the teacher's method of getting students to work out the spelling of words. The interaction accomplishes the withholding of information directly requested by Dominic but leads to his recording of the first letter of 'very'.

The thing is ...

One thing that appears to get up people's noses about conversation analysis is the way that it deals with context. For example, in my thesis I analysed the sequences of talk involving Ivan without drawing on my knowledge of his age and so on. Excluding this information, unless it was made obvious in the data, is a methodological imperative of conversation analysis.

A friend read my blog this week and wrote suggesting that my analysis of the sequences of talk involving Ivan provides the basis for a journal article. She commented that she enjoyed a good story. That comment was interesting because I would not draw on my knowledge of Ivan as a tricky character in his classroom, if I were to turn my blog posts that involved him into an article informed by conversation analysis. I think that it was my use of background information, in one of my blog posts, that formed the story for her.

The position that I took in my PhD is that the talk is interesting for what is shows about social interaction made evident through the talk that occurs between those who participate in it. In the case of talk that involved finding words, I was able to describe the methods used consistently by students and their teacher during independent writing. Ivan broke the mould ie. the teacher's question about where do you find it (the word wanted by a student) was mostly not answered by students. They walked away, and so my analysis was that they took her question to be a direction to find the word they needed in the room. Ivan answered the teacher's question. I decided that he made a joke. Whether it worked is another question. Ditto my interpretation of it.


One of the good things that happened this week was introducing a colleague, and friend, to blogging. Robyn works with me and is currently analysising data for her PhD. Robyn is working in the area of self-study. She is analysing data from her classes with pre-service teacher education students. Robyn has transcripts of her classes, her participant observation notes during classes, and journal comments that students have written in response to transcripts of their classes that she has developed.

We have spoken a lot this week, about blogs and about analysis of data. A point of contention has involved data analysis and its relation to theory. Robyn's experiences and readings of relevant literature suggest powerful points that might drive her analysis of her classroom teaching data. On the other hand, Robyn has data that provides material for analysis that might lead her in ways not yet encompassed within her reading of the literature and within self-study.

A tension for you Robyn.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

What I like about having a blog

Currently, there is much discussion around about blogs. To some extent I have resisted making my blog "what a blog is supposed to be", according to the research and discussion that emerges around blogs. What is most appealing to me about my blog is that it can actually serve any purpose that I like. That purpose might change, but I can determine it. Call it a reaction to the genre-theory movement as it was narrowly taken up in Australia (yes I am an Australian), however, I want to resist curtailing my blog work because it doesn't fit with the blog "genre". It seems to me that the very joy about new literacies is that we are in-the-making of what those literacies might be. Let's not fence ourselves in.