|Title||Handling knowledge: Using classroom materials to construct and interpret information requests|
|Tag(s)||Action formation, Objects in interaction, Multimodality, Social epistemics, Classroom interaction, Learning materials|
|Journal||Journal of Pragmatics|
This article contributes to the recent conversation analytic interest in exploring the mechanisms of action formation and ascription by investigating how embodied interactional practices involving material objects relate to the organization of social action. Using as data information request sequences in student–student interaction, the study highlights the material nature of an interactional context and examines how students orient in talk and by bodily-visual means to their and their co-conversants’ textual documents during individual task work. Sequential analyses illustrate how the manual handling of such everyday learning materials as handouts and tasks sheets is not only an important resource for constructing the social actions of requesting and asserting information, but is also oriented as a basis for drawing inferences about the participants’ relative epistemic statuses. The article concludes by considering how embodied action and joint activities contribute towards action formation and ascription. Finally, it is also suggested that investigating the interactional use of learning materials is central if we wish to understand how they may support students’ task work by organizing epistemic practices specific to classrooms and, through those practices, construct particular institutional identities for students.