Browsing by Author "Lehtimaja, Inkeri"

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  • Lehtimaja, Inkeri (Helsingin yliopisto, 2012)
    This study describes how students influence their possibilities of participating in whole-class conversation. The main objective is to investigate the verbal and non-verbal resources used by students to modify the participant roles of the ongoing conversation. The resources studied are attention-getting devices such as hand-raising and address terms, recycling and other forms of collaborative talk, means of reference to persons, such as pronouns, as well as gaze and other embodied resources. The theoretical and methodological framework adopted in this study is that of conversation analysis. The data consist of ten videotaped lessons of Finnish as a second language in three secondary schools (grades 7 9) in southern Finland; the number of students per group varies from five to ten. Finnish has a triple role in the data as the medium of teaching, the target language, and the lingua franca used by the participants. The findings show that the multi-party context of the classroom conversation is both a disadvantage and an affordance for student participation. The students possess multiple tools to overcome and deal with the encumbrances posed by the large number of participants. They combine various techniques in order to actively compete for public turns, and they monitor the ongoing conversation carefully to adjust their participation to the activities of other participants. Sometimes the whole-class conversation splits into two separate conversations, but participants usually orient to the overlapping nature of the talk and tend to bring the conversations together rapidly. On the other hand, students skilfully make use of other participants and their talk to increase and diversify their own possibilities to participate. For example, they recycle elements of each other s turns or refer to the currently speaking student in order to gain access to the conversation. Students interact with each other even during the public whole-class conversation. Students orient to one another often even when talking to the teacher, but they also address talk directly to one another, as part of the public conversation. In this way students increase each other s possibilities of participation. The interaction is constantly multi-layered: in addition to the pedagogic agenda, the students orient to social goals, for example, by teasing each other and putting on humorous performances for their peer audience. The student student participation arises spontaneously from a genuine need to communicate and thus represents authentic language use: by talking to each other, often playfully, the students appropriate Finnish vocabulary, grammar, and expressions. In this way the structure of the interaction reflects the particular nature of Finnish as a second language lessons: all talk serves the pedagogic goal of enabling students to communicate in the target language.