Edited by Kristina Love
[Australian Review of Applied Linguistics. Series S 19] 2005
► pp. 64–86
Framing in online school discussions
A new mode of educational inequity?
This paper draws on Bernstein’s (1996) notion of framing to examine the variables which control the communication made possible in online discussion in one school context, and the particular forms of pedagogic consciousness (Bernstein, 1996) that are produced as students and teachers negotiate meanings around a literary text. Using genre analysis (Martin, 1992) I examine how students variously contribute in the collaborative construction of an online Discussion genre. Using appraisal analysis (Martin, 2000; White, 2002), I then identify how online interactants variously negotiate their judgements, feelings and appreciations of various aspects of the literary text being discussed, and of each other’s contributions, such that certain forms of reasoning around text are privileged over others. In so doing, I identify how different students have access to different forms of expertise in online discussion, with some students being more able to produce the “legitimate forms of communication” (Bernstein, 1996) in the online environment. I conclude by suggesting that, without a close examination of how online discussions are framed as emerging electronic genres, educators run the risk of validating a new mode of structural inequity and disadvantage.