Researching change and literacy development

Year: 2003

Author: Partington, Gary

Type of paper: Refereed paper

Teaching and learning are mediated through the discourse of the classroom, and thus teacher-student interaction plays a very important role in students' language development, especially for students for whom the language or dialect of school is different from that used at home. For students from cultural backgrounds with interactional styles different from that which dominates in most classrooms, the ways in which teachers interact with them may become a barrier to success at school if students and teachers are operating according to different sociolinguistic conventions. This paper will explore aspects of this issue, drawing on examples of different ways in which teachers of Indigenous Australian students follow-up students' responses to questions or other forms of teacher-initiated interaction. It will consider how different types of teacher follow-up of student responses may serve to foster or impede opportunities for interaction, and thus aspects of language development. The classroom interaction data on which this paper is based are drawn from that collected as part of a large, cross-sectoral project, funded by the Australian Research Council and industry partners, and is investigating the effectiveness of the literacy teaching strategies that teachers employ when working with junior primary-aged Indigenous Australian students with conductive hearing loss.