Turn-taking in classroom interactions: Overlapping, interruptions and pauses in primary school

  • Barbara Maroni
  • Augusto Gnisci
  • Clotilde Pontecorvo


This paper examines the rhythm and the management of classroom interaction as an important constituent of a teaching-learning process. Twenty-three lessons in 12 classes (four 2nd grades, four 3rd grades and four 4th grades) of state primary schools spread all over Italy were observed and video taped for a total of 15 hours. The descriptive analysis of the collected data revealed a transformation of children’s and class interactivity and a change in the use of turn-taking strategies (overlaps, interruptions and pauses)_from 2nd to 4th grade. Additionally, it showed that: (1) speaker after overlap changes according to the type of overlap; (2) teachers differ from children in their turn-interrupting strategies (teacher interrupts with supportive and silent turns, whereas children with failed or simple interruptions); (3) log-linear analysis revealed that the next speaker was correlated both with the first speaker and pause duration, but these correlations were independent between them. For a more accurate interpretation of the results various aspects characterizing educational and school interaction were taken into account.

Key words

Classroom interaction Sequential analysis Turn-taking 


Cet article analyse le rythme et la gestion de l’interaction en classe comme un élément important du processus d’enseignement-apprentissage. Vingt-trois leçons en 12 classes (4 de deuxième de troisième et de quatrième degré, respectivement) appartenant à différentes écoles primaires italiennes ont été observées et enregistrées au vidéo pour un total de 15 heures. L’analyse descriptive des données recueillies et transcrites nous a montré une transformation des interactions entre les enfants et un changement dans les stratégies de prise-d+e-parole (superpositions, interruptions et pauses) en passant du 2ème au 4ème degré. En plus. elle montra que: (1) le parlant, après une superposition, change en fonctions du type de superposition; (2) les enseignants sont différents des enfants dans leur stratégies de prise de parole (l’enseignant interromps avec des tours de parole supportiez, ou silencieux, tandis que les enfants le font avec des interruptions simples ou faillites); (3) l’analyse, log-linéaire a révélé que le parlant qui suit est corrélé soit avec le premier parlant soit avec la durée de la pause, mais les deux corrélations sont indépendantes l’une de l’autre. Pour avoir une interprétation des résultats plus précise, d’autres aspects concernant l’interaction éducative ont été considérés.


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Copyright information

© I.S.P.A 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Barbara Maroni
    • 1
  • Augusto Gnisci
    • 2
  • Clotilde Pontecorvo
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Psychology of Development and Socialization ProcessesUniversity of Rome La SapienzaRomeItaly
  2. 2.Department of PsychologySecond University of NaplesCasertaItaly
  3. 3.University of Rome La SapienzaRomeItaly

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