Order and disorder in the classroom

Isabella Paoletti and Giolo Fele

Abstract

The article discusses some aspects of classroom interaction as described in the ethnomethodological literature in particular, and it does so through the analysis of an excerpt from conversational interaction in a classroom. The interactional model described in the relevant literature is an asymmetric system of conversational rights in which the teacher controls every aspect of the conversation: Turn-taking, topic choice and duration, definition of what has been said for all practical purposes The study argues that teachers constantly endeavour to strike a difficult balance between two contrasting tasks: Maintaining control over the class on the one hand, and monitoring the ordered unfolding of activities and soliciting student participation on the other.

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