This essay aims to provide a linguistic analysis of classroom talk, highlighting the key areas of language that manifest themselves in the transcription. The transcription is taken from a classroom scenario where a teacher is taking a small year 9 booster group for additional English. The essay will discuss the work of Sinclair and Coulthard and assess the relevance of Flanders interaction categories.
The first transcript begins after the class has been settled and the pupils are sitting waiting for the teacher to speak.This opening immediately demonstrates some of the formalities embedded in most classroom situations, the pupils expect the teacher to speak first and wait for the opening line.The teacher immediately begins with a marker 'right then' (line 1) this phrase serves no other purpose than to inform the class that the teacher has begun and begins the first boundary exchange.
The first line of data also contains the question 'can anyone tell me what a similie is This initiation act opens up the conversation to the whole group in the hope of eliciting information from the class.Even at this early stage the conventions of the classroom are apparent, paticularly 'turn taking', the teacher speaks and invites a response from the pupil , and so forth.Ideally these exchanges would come in adjacency pairs to retain order and structure for the conversation, but often in a classroom there are interuptions either due to behaviour issues or external factors. The speaker may have to vary the intonation, pitch or tempo of the voice to retain control and protect their turn in the conversation.
The classroom environment coupled with the planned and controlled nature of the presentation make it easy to identify the participants roles in the exchanges, i.e who was controlling (in this case the teacher) and who was subordinate (the pupils), because in general turns are strictly controlled.Classroom discourse is probably the opposite of informal conversation as the content and agenda is controlled by the teacher along with quite crucially the feedback from the other participants.