04 SES 05 B, Inclusive Communication and Interaction
Although a lot of attention has been paid within special educational research towards the management of disruptive classroom behavior, rather few studies tend to explore the intimate relation between classroom management and teachers’ language-use. And, while there is a large body of literature employing various techniques of conflict resolution, mediation, and negotiation, in order to resolve problems likes teasing, put-downs, pushing, or hitting within classrooms, these rarely acknowledge the complexity of the situated actions that constitute these activities.
An overriding aim of this study is therefor to in more detail delve into a particular pedagogical procedure by which teachers try to avoid a potential student conflict from arising within a special support classroom. More specifically, it explores the role of a particular expression, ‘don’t let it get to you’ (sw. ‘bry dig inte’), which is frequently used by the teachers to neutralize affective displays that risk leading to a conflict. On the basis of analysis of naturally occurring classroom interaction, taking place at a special support school for students attending 7th-9th grade, it is demonstrated how this particular expression is issued by the teachers in the context of several different types of classroom activities, as well as in different sequential environments.
The study takes an interactional approach to conflict management within an educational setting. This inclines a specific interest in how the participants’ utterances, by virtue of the sequences in which they appear, perform recognizable social actions. Utterances normally orient to what has come before them, but at the same time they also serve as frames for which action can possibly come to follow them. As Goodwin (2006, p. 443) proclaims, such dual orientation is particularly apparent in conflict situations, because of the “retrospective and prospective horizons shaping the construction of utterances in conflict”. When an educational order breaks down, as in the case of the potential conflict episodes focused in this study, the participants thus implicitly have to negotiate what the new context will be. The scope of the study therefor also invcludes an interest for which ‘contextualization cues’ (Gumpertz, 1982) the participants make use of to signal to one another what the ongoing social context is, and when it is changing. As Dorr-Bremme (1990) points out, such contextualization cues can namely serve as powerful, immediate means of regulating the flow and content of discourse, and also play an important role in the enactment of social authority, and the achievement of classroom management. Consequently, such cues are also crucial for how the teachers are able to reflexively design their talk so as to avoid the various conflict trajectories projected by the students’ actions.
Conflicts often involve the venting of anger (cf. Goodwin, 2006). The fact that the emergence and expression of irritation and anger, similar to other affective displays, is intimately linked to particular kinds of interactional configuration (cf. Dersley and Wootton, 2001) suggests, in relation to the scope of this article, that the precise sequential placement of emotional displays also hold important clues about the circumstances that shape the interventional moves of the teachers.
Lazaraton, A., & Ishihara, N. (2005). Understanding Second Language Teacher Practice Using Microanalysis and Self-Reflection: A Collaborative Case Study. The Modern Language Journal 89(4), 529-542. Zsang Waring, H., & B, Hruska. (2011). Getting and keeping Nora on board: A novice elementary ESOL student teacher's practices for lesson engagement. Linguistics & Education 22(4), 441-455. Maynard, D. W. (2006). Ethnography and conversation analysis: What is the context of an utterance? In S. Nagy Hesse-Biber (Ed.), Emergent methods in social research. London: Sage. Gumpertz, J. (1982). Discourse Strategies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Dorr-Bremme, D. (1990). Contextualization cues in the classroom: Discourse regulation and social control functions. Language in Society 19(3), 379-402. Goodwin, C. (2006). Retrospective and prospective orientation in the construction of argumentative moves. Text & Talk 26(4-5), 443-461. Dersley, I., & Wootton, A. (2001). In the heat of the sequence: Interactional features preceding walkouts from argumentative talk. Language in Society 30(4), 611-638
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