Analysing Interaction in Science Classrooms A Comparative Study of two Discourse Analysis Frameworks

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Kristina Danielsson
Ewa Bergh Nestlog
Fredrik Jeppsson
Kok-Sing Tang


One central issue for research in classrooms is to provide insights concerning characteristics of classroom interaction that can help teachers improve their teaching. In the present study, we analyse spoken interaction in one elementary physics classroom by the use of two different frameworks, targeting similar aspects of social communication, namely how discourse patterns shape the relations between participants. The two frameworks utilized are on the one hand analyses of the communicative approach according to Mortimer and Scott, combined with analyses of discourse patterns such as IRE-patterns, and on the other hand analyses related to the interpersonal meta-function in Halliday’s systemic-functional grammar, SFG. The aim was to highlight possibilities and limitations of the different frameworks. 

Our analyses reveal that the two analytical frameworks have partly the same, partly different affordances concerning what they can reveal about classroom interaction. The analyses of the communicative approaches have the potential of elucidating discursive patterns and power relations at a general level, while the analyses based on SFG can provide more details about the power relations in terms of how the participants actually structure their utterances. The results are also discussed regarding implications for education.

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How to Cite
Danielsson, K., Bergh Nestlog, E., Jeppsson, F., & Tang, K.-S. (2023). Analysing Interaction in Science Classrooms: A Comparative Study of two Discourse Analysis Frameworks. Educare, (1), 1–32.


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