|Author(s)||Richard John Walker, James Michael Underwood|
|Title||Realisations through Conversation Analysis (CA): Increasing awareness of interactional dynamics in the discussion classroom|
|Tag(s)||EMCA, Conversation Analyses, Gesture, English as a Foreign Language (EFL), classroom communication, ESL evaluation, English As a Second Language (ESL)|
|Journal||The Pan SIG Journal|
This paper is about how Conversation Analysis (CA) helped us attain a deeper understanding of interactional dynamics in the classroom. We video recorded discussions of English language majors and initially used CA to investigate student use of taught discourse strategies (TDS) when turn taking. However, this investigation brought us an increasing awareness of two interactional phenomena we had not consciously considered: gesturing and intersubjectivity. Our focus therefore is on excerpts of classroom talk that highlight their importance. We believe that a recognition of the communicative potential of bodily gestures and an awareness of how intersubjective forces define the trajectory of a discussion may lead to a revision of grading criteria. The context specificity of our excerpts and their non-lexical focus may be of interest to ELT teachers: greater awareness of embodied communication and of the psychological dynamics within groups will increase the mindfulness of teachers to contextual contingencies that affect classroom performance. The experience of 'doing' CA has reminded us of the need to grade holistically, to pay more attention to the formation of groups, and to recognise a need to analyse patterns and sequences of both verbal and non-verbal communication in discussion groups.