I’ll tell you a secret: socialization into oral social practices in elementary school whole group interaction

Taiane Malabarba,
Joseane de Souza


This paper investigates socialization into classroom whole-group participation from an interactional and micro-analytic perspective. Drawing on the single case of a moment of explicit socialization into the participation norms of elementary-school classroom interaction, it shows how such norms become a ‘learnable’, i.e., the object of teaching/learning. Specifically, it demonstrates in detail how a teacher turns a single student’s complaint related to the student’s trouble accessing the floor into an opportunity to socialize the group of students into the practice of raising hands to bid for the floor and waiting until being selected to deliver a turn-at-talk. This includes avoiding treating the complaint as a matter for reproaching the students who are not following the norms, and instead, explicitly stating the interactional trajectory of what constitutes - from the teacher perspective - a successful manner to get access to the floor and contributing to the whole-group discussion. The analysis of the sequence organization of talk during this moment unpacks the multifaceted and contingent nature of the teaching and learning of oral social practices and unveils 1) divergent orientations and methods for managing and contributing to the classroom talk; and 2) underlying moral issues connected both with the student’s complaint and with how it is treated by the teacher. The findings resulting from the fine-grained analysis of a unique episode allow for discussion on broader social issues, such as asymmetry and morality. They constitute a potentially relevant resource for further research on other cases and contexts, and for professional reflection as well.


ARONSSON, K. Micro dramas and morality-in-interaction: a commentary. Text & Talk, v. 40, n. 5, p. 695-703, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1515/text-2020-2083

BULLA, G. S.; SCHULZ, L. Análise da Conversa Etnometodológica e Educação Linguística: algumas contribuições para a formação de professores. Calidoscópio, v. 16, n. 2, p. 194-205, 2018. https://doi.org/10.4013/cld.2018.162.02

BUTLER, C. W.; EDWARDS, D. Children’s whining in family interaction. Research on Language and Social Interaction, v. 51, n. 1, p. 52-66, 2018. doi: 10.1080/08351813.2018.1413893

CEKAITE, A. What makes a child a good language learner? Interactional competence, identity, and immersion in a Swedish classroom. Annual Review of Applied Linguistics, v. 37, p. 45-61, 2017. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0267190517000046

CEKAITE, A. Subversive compliance and embodiment in remedial interchanges. Text & Talk, v. 40, n. 5, p. 669-693, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1515/text-2020-2078

CHURCH, A.; BATEMAN, A. Children’s right to participate: how can teachers extend child-initiated learning sequen-ces? International Journal of Early Childhood, v. 51, n. 3, p. 265-281, 2019. https://doi.org/10.1007/s13158-019-00250-7

CLAYMAN, S. E.; GILL, V. T. Conversation analysis. In: GEE, J. P.; HANFORD, M. (Eds.). Routledge Handbook of Discourse Analysis. New York: Routledge, 2012, p. 120-134.

DALACORTE, M. C. F. A mudança de turnos na sala de aula de língua inglesa. Linguagem & Ensino, v. 6, n. 1, p. 35-56, 2003.

DE SOUZA, J.; MALABARBA, T.; GUIMARAES, A. M. M. Hold-ups in classroom interaction: the multiactivity of mana-ging students' participation in a Brazilian primary school. Bulletin Suisse de Linguistique Appliquee, v. 111, p. 111-135, 2020.

DREW, P. Complaints about transgressions and misconduct. Research on Language and Social Interaction, v. 31, n. 3-4, p. 295-325, 1998. https://doi.org/10.1080/08351813.1998.9683595

DURANTI, A.; OCHS, E.; SCHIEFFELIN, B. B. (Eds.). The handbook of language socialization. Malden: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011. 660p. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781444342901

ESCOBAR URMENETA, C.; EVNITSKAYA, N. ‘Do you know Actimel?’ The adaptive nature of dialogic teacher-led dis-cussions in the CLIL science classroom: a case study. The Language Learning Journal, v. 42, n. 2, p. 165-180, 2014. https://doi.org/10.1080/09571736.2014.889507

ESKILDSEN, S. From Constructions to Social Action: The Substance of English and Its Learning from an Interactio-nal Usage-Based Perspective. In: HALL, C.; WICAKSONO, R. (Eds.). Ontologies of English: conceptualising the language for learning, teaching, and assessment. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2020, p. 59-79. doi:10.1017/9781108685153.004

EVALDSSON, A.; BOWDEN, H. M. Co-constructing a child as disorderly: moral character work in narrative accounts of upsetting experiences. Text & Talk, v. 40, n. 5, 2020, p. 599-622. https://doi.org/10.1515/text-2020-2079

EVALDSSON, A.; SVAHN, J. Staging social aggression: affective stances and moral character work in girls’ gossip telling. Research on Children and Social Interaction, v. 1, n. 1, p. 77-104, 2017. doi: 10.1558/rcsi.32351

FRENCH, P.; MACLURE, M. Teachers’ questions, pupils’ answers: an investigation of questions and answers in the infant classroom. First Language, v. 2, n. 4, p. 31-45, 1981. https://doi.org/10.1177/014272378100200403

GARCEZ, P. M. A perspectiva da Análise da Conversa Etnometodológica sobre o uso da linguagem em interação social. In: LODER, L. L.; JUNG, N. M. (Orgs.). Fala-em-interação social: uma introdução à Análise da Conversa Etnometodológica. Campinas: Mercado de Letras, 2008, p. 17-38.

GARFINKEL, H. Studies in Ethnomethodology. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1967. 288p.

GOFFMAN, E. Remedial Exchanges. Relations in public: microstudies of the public order. New York: Harper and Row, 1971.

GUIMARÃES, A. M. M.; KERSCH, D. F. Caminhos da construção: projetos didáticos de gênero na sala de aula de língua portuguesa. Campinas: Mercado de Letras, 2012. 214p.

HALL, J. K.; MALABARBA, T.; KIMURA, D. What’s symmetrical?: a teacher’s cooperative management of learner turns in a read-aloud activity. In: HALL, J. K.; LOONEY, S. D. (Eds.). The embodied work of teaching. Bristol: Multilingual Matters, 2019, p. 37-56. https://doi.org/10.21832/9781788925501-006

HERITAGE, J. A change-of-state token and aspects of its sequential placement. In: ATKINSON, J. M.; HERITAGE, J. (Eds.). Structures of Social Action: Studies in Conversation Analysis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984, p. 299-345.

HUTCHBY, I.; WOOFFITT, R. Conversation analysis: principles, practices and applications. Cambridge: Polity Press, 1998. 273p.

ISHINO, M. Subversive questions for classroom turn-taking traffic management. Journal of Pragmatics, v. 117, p. 41-57, 2017. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pragma.2017.05.011

JEFFERSON, G. Glossary of transcript symbols with an introduction. In: LERNER, G. H. Conversation Analysis: studies from the first generation. Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2004, p. 13-31. https://doi.org/10.1075/pbns.125.02jef

KÄÄNTÄ, L. Teachers' embodied allocations in instructional interaction. Classroom Discourse, v. 3, n. 2, p. 166-186, 2012. https://doi.org/10.1080/19463014.2012.716624

KANITZ, A.; GARCEZ, P. de M. Resolução de problemas e construção conjunta de conhecimento na fala-em-interação em cenário de desenvolvimento tecnológico. Trabalhos em Linguística Aplicada, v. 59, n. 2, p. 1259-1287, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1590/01031813724501620200601

KEEL, S. Socialization: parent-child interaction in everyday life. London: Routledge, 2016. 274p. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315609706

KLATTENBERG, R. Question-formatted reproaches in classroom management. Classroom Discourse, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1080/19463014.2020.1713834

MAJLESI, A. R.; BROTH, M. Emergent learnables in second language classroom interaction. Learning, Culture and So-cial Interaction, v. 1, n. 3-4, p. 193-207, 2012. doi: 10.1016/j.lcsi.2012.08.004

MARGUTTI, P. “Are You Human Beings?” Order and Knowledge Construction through Classroom Interaction. Lin-guistics and Education, v. 17, n. 4, p. 313-246, 2006.

MARGUTTI, P.; DREW, P. Positive evaluation of student answers in classroom instruction. Language and Education, v. 28, n. 5, p. 436-458, 2014. https://doi.org/10.1080/09500782.2014.898650

MARGUTTI, P.; PIIRAINEN-MARSH, A. The interactional management of discipline and morality in the classroom: an introduction. Linguistics and Education, v. 22, n. 4, p. 305-309, 2011. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.linged.2011.08.003

MARKEE, N. The organization of off-task talk in second language classrooms. In: RICHARDS, K.; SEEDHOUSE, P. (Eds.). Applying Conversation Analysis. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005, p. 197-213. https://doi.org/10.1057/9780230287853_12

MARONI, B.; GNISCI, A.; PONTECORVO, C. Turn-taking in classroom interactions: overlapping, interruptions and pauses in primary school. European Journal of Psychology of Education, v. 23, n. 1, p. 59-76, 2008. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF03173140

MCNEILL, D. Thought, imagery, and language: how gestures fuel thought and speech. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2005. 330p.

MEHAN, H. Learning lessons: Social organization in the classroom. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1979. 227p.

MEHAN, H.; GRIFFIN, P. Socialization: the view from classroom interactions. Sociological Inquiry, v. 50, n. 3-4, p. 357-392, 1980. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1475-682X.1980.tb00027.x

NASSAJI, H., WELLS, G. What’s the use of “triadic dialogue”?: an investigation of teacher-student interaction. Applied Linguistics, v. 21, n. 3, p. 376-406, 2000. https://doi.org/10.1093/applin/21.3.376

NGUYEN, H. T. Rapport building in language instruction: a microanalysis of the multiple resources in teacher talk. Language and Education, v. 21, n. 3, p. 284-303, 2007. https://doi.org/10.2167/le658.0

OCHS, E.; SCHIEFFELIN, B. B. The theory of language socialization. In: DURANTI, A.; OCHS, E.; SCHIEFFELIN, B. B. (Eds.). The handbook of language socialization. Malden: Wiley-Blackwell, 2011, p. 1-21. https://doi.org/10.1002/9781444342901.ch1

PERÄKYLÄ, A.; VEHVILÄINEN, S. Conversation analysis and the professional stocks of interactional knowledge. Dis-course & Society, v. 14, n. 6, p. 727-750, 2003. https://doi.org/10.1177/09579265030146003

PETERMANN, R.; JUNG, N. M. Participação, protagonismo e aprendizagem na fala-em-interação de sala de aula em uma equipe de trabalho no ensino médio. Revista Brasileira de Linguística Aplicada, v. 17, n. 4, p. 813-844, 2017. https://doi.org/10.1590/1984-6398201711341

POMERANTZ, A. Extreme-case formulations: a way of legitimizing claims. Human Studies, v. 9, n. 2-3, p. 219-230, 1986. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00148128

SACKS, H. Lectures on conversation. Oxford: Blackwell, 1992. v. 1 e v. 2.

SACKS, H.; SCHEGLOFF, E. A.; JEFFERSON, G. A simplest systematics for the organization of turn-taking for conver-sation. Language, v. 50, n. 4, p. 696-735, 1974. https://doi.org/10.1353/lan.1974.0010

SAHLSTRÖM, J. F. The interactional organisation of hand raising in classroom interaction. Journal of Classroom In-teraction, v. 37, n. 2, p. 47-57, 2002. Available at: http://www.jstor.org/stable/23870411. Accessed on: 10 Sept. 2021.

SAHLSTRÖM, J. F. Up the hill backwards: on interactional constraints and affordances for equity-constitution in the classrooms of the Swedish comprehensive school. Uppsala University: Uppsala Studies in Education, 85, 1999.

SCHEGLOFF, E. A. Sequence organization in interaction: a primer in Conversation Analysis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2007. 318p.

SINCLAIR, J. M.; COULTHARD, M. Toward an analysis of discourse: the English used by teachers and pupils. London: Oxford University Press, 1975.

TADIC, N., BOX, C. D. Attending to the interpersonal and institutional contingencies of interaction in an elemen-tary school. In: HALL, J. K.; LOONEY, S. D. (Eds.). The embodied work of teaching. Bristol: Multilingual Matters, 2019, p. 15-36. https://doi.org/10.21832/9781788925501-005

TEN HAVE, P. Doing conversation analysis: a practical guide. 2. ed. London: Sage Publications, 2007. 264p.

WELLS, G. Reevaluating the IRF sequence: A proposal for the articulation of theories of activity and discourse for the analysis of teaching and learning in the classroom. Linguistics in Education, v. 5, p. 1-37, 1993. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0898-5898(05)80001-4

WILLEMSEN, A.; GOSEN, M. N.; KOOLE, T.; GLOPPER, K. Teachers’ pass-on practices in whole-class discussions: how teachers return the floor to their students. Classroom Discourse, v. 11, n. 4, p. 297-315, 2020. https://doi.org/10.1080/19463014.2019.1585890