Patterns of Participation: Managing Classroom Talk

  • Tony Wright
Part of the Research and Practice in Applied Linguistics book series (RPAL)


The various aspects of classroom management — institutional, social, pedagogic, affective — and their connections with the primary concerns of classroom management — order, opportunity and care — have strong discoursal characteristics. The patterns of participation revealed by analysis of how the main activities of teaching are realised in classroom talk provide insights into classroom management practice. By examining what learners and teachers actually do when participating in classroom activity, the relatively abstract entities of pedagogies (Chapter 7) are brought to life. Chapter 4 has already established the metaphor of classroom as ‘discourse village’, and this chapter explores further what this means. Mercer’s (1994, 1995, 2000, 2001; Edwards and Mercer 1987) work sees classroom talk contributing to and as an outcome of the formation of unique social contexts, created for the purposes of learning. Classroom talk is thus a form of social action managed with the aim of enhancing learning and a window on classroom participation.


Online Learning Classroom Activity Classroom Management Classroom Discourse Classroom Culture 
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Further reading

  1. Dillon (1990) illustrates the value of exploratory talk in classroom activity.Google Scholar
  2. Erickson (1982) introduces the idea of pedagogic ‘troubles’, an important classroom management concept.Google Scholar
  3. Mercer (1995) is an excellent introduction to a complex field.Google Scholar
  4. Salmon (2002, 2004) offers helpful practical ideas and theoretical support for online learning moderators.Google Scholar
  5. van Lier (1988) is a comprehensive study of turn-taking and other discoursal phenomena in the language classroom.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Tony Wright 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Tony Wright

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