Teacher research: A new way of hearing adolescent student talk in class

Year: 2001

Author: Bills, Dianne

Type of paper: Refereed paper

This paper describes a study which examined the social and institutional relations assembled in and around the talk of young adolescent students in the classroom. It describes how a teacher-researcher attempted to negotiate the insider/outsider divide often used to characterise teacher research, in order to hear students' talk with peers in everyday classroom conversations. The talk was recorded over a period of four months, transcribed, and analysed from an ethnomethodological point of view, using techniques of Conversation Analysis.

Teachers face particular pedagogical, ethical and methodological issues when they conduct research in their own classroom and this study shows what can be accomplished when a teacher adopts an outsider perspective in order to hear students in 'nonintuitive' ways. The study also reveals the insights gained when a teacher adds to that way of hearing by drawing on her 'inside' knowledge of individual speakers. It is possible to appreciate the continuous and creative work students conduct to assemble different ways of being students alongside their many other social and sub-cultural ways of being.