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

  • Author / Creator
    Greene, Carole
  • 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.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2009
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.