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Conversation Analysis: a study of institutional interaction and gender in a Russian classroom Open Access


Other title
Conversation Analysis
adjacency pairs
academic discourse
Russian language
student-teacher interaction
institutional interaction
Type of item
Degree grantor
University of Alberta
Author or creator
Greene, Carole
Supervisor and department
Priestly, Tom (Modern Languages and Cultural Studies)
Nedashkivska, Alla (Modern Languages and Cultural Studies)
Examining committee member and department
Osadnik, Waclaw (Modern Languages and Cultural Studies)
Maheux-Pelletier, Genevieve (Modern Languages and Cultural Studies)
Bilash, Olenka (Secondary Education)
Doleschal, Ursula (Institute of Slavonic Studies, Alpen-Adria-Universitat Klagenfurt)
Department of Modern Languages and Cultural Studies

Date accepted
Graduation date
Doctor of Philosophy
Degree level
This dissertation analysed the interactions between instructors and students in a language classroom in Russia. Using video-recorded data, instructor interviews, and student assessments from English classes at a private language school for children in the Urals region of Russia, a Conversation Analytic [CA] framework was employed to determine: how the talk (specifically turn-taking, adjacency pairs, and repairs) was sequentially organised; if and how the institutional setting constrained the talk; and if previously determined 'universal' structures of talk applied to this Russian academic discourse. This research also tested the hypotheses that the 'universal' structures of talk would apply regardless of gender, but would be used differently by the boys and girls, and by the instructors interacting with them. The relevance of the participants' institutional identities or gender to the interaction was also examined. The analysis showed that the participants did orient to their institutional identities of instructor or student, and the institutional setting did constrain the organisation of talk. The instructors' responses to the interviews and 'student assessment' questionnaires showed that they generally had positive attitudes toward girls and mixed attitudes toward boys. While the underlying sequences, the universal 'rules' of interaction, applied to interactions with both boys and girls, how (and how frequently) the sequences were used did vary by gender (i.e., typically 'male' and 'female' speech styles). Also, some of the organisation of talk showed that the instructors did orient to the students' genders in the classroom. This research is significant as the first CA study of the sequential organisation of talk in an institutional setting in Russia. In general, this research contributes to the CA findings on the organisation of talk in different languages, cultures, and settings; specifically, it provides the first point of comparison of Russian classroom interactions, from a CA perspective, with the large corpus of data already collected in classrooms in the Western tradition of education. Finally, this research is significant as it provides a thorough microanalysis of the relativity of gender-specific verbal behaviour; the analysis also shows how the instructors behave verbally, and in this way produce gender-specific communication styles.
Permission is hereby granted to the University of Alberta Libraries to reproduce single copies of this thesis and to lend or sell such copies for private, scholarly or scientific research purposes only. Where the thesis is converted to, or otherwise made available in digital form, the University of Alberta will advise potential users of the thesis of these terms. The author reserves all other publication and other rights in association with the copyright in the thesis and, except as herein before provided, neither the thesis nor any substantial portion thereof may be printed or otherwise reproduced in any material form whatsoever without the author's prior written permission.
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