Examination of Findings
A thank you to the Students and teachers who allowed me to record and analyse their classroom shenanigans, and an especially large thank you to JuJu, who I’m sure will read this and ruthlessly edit this thanks out.
The focus of my investigation is the language used within the classroom and the interactions between students and teachers within a classroom environment. Ultimately, I want my investigation to help people understand how classroom interactions work, and what the best way to engage and educate the students is. To achieve this, I am viewing my transcripts with the theories put forward by Skinner on education, as well as the Gricean maxims and other modern language theorists. My interest in this is due to me wanting to become a teacher, and when presented with this investigation I immediately wanted to do something that could potentially benefit me personally. So in order to carry this out, I decided to analyse the language relationships within a classroom, at the level of education which I want to teach. I am basing my investigation on educational theories proposed in B.F. Skinner’s ‘The technology of Teaching’. His theories were universally accepted in educational institutions and this implemented in standard procedure within the teaching environment. My aim is to observe several teaching sessions in a college of Further Education and analyse the language used, specifically focusing on lexical and grammatical choices made by the teacher in order to engage students, I will apply the theories put forwards by Paul Grice; the Maxims of Quality, Quantity, Relevance and Manner, to see if they are adhered to or flouted within a modern classroom setting. However, while the theory of teaching is important to my investigation, it is not its key constituent; a large part of the investigation shall be dedicated to analysing and examining the lexical, grammatical and syntactical choices made by teachers attempting to engage and ‘educate’ students. From my investigation I hope to discover if teachers of the same gender teaching the same subject to the same group of students interact and manage those students with an aim to educate them in the same manner.
I was obliged by circumstances to adjust my original question – that of analysing and addressing the differences in interactions between GCSE class rooms and college class rooms – because of limited access to school classes. This physical limitation affected the entirety of the investigation, transforming it from a comparative piece to a limited zone analysis. However, this in itself obligated me to collect a vastly larger amount of data from the class pool which I had access to, and as such the analysis of this data was much more in-depth than the original hypothesis would allow. To allow myself to bring the theorists to focus, I have limited my analysis to student-teacher interactions within the passage where the teacher is directly interacting with a single student, or group of students. It is this interaction which is important to my analysis – the manner in which teachers manipulate and create situations where they can reinforce the ideas they are trying to instil within the students in such a manner that “education” is achieved. This process of dialogue is known as IRF – Initiation/Response/Follow up – and it is this which I will be analysing. To gather this data I have recorded and transcribed a series of relevant interactions from four of the English Department’s classes taught within my college. All of these classes are at the same educational level- that of A-Level- and so are theoretically between students and teachers of equal relative status....