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Language, Individual & Society, Volume 15, 2021

CLASSROOM POWER AND WAYS OF SUBVERTING IT
Mihaela Beschieru
Pages: 71-87
Published: 29 Sep 2021
Views: 33
Abstract: This paper focuses on power relations between teachers and students, on how they express and experience power in classroom interaction. The concept of power is defined as both teachers’ and students’ opportunities and capabilities to acquire control of a situation. The main objectives of the study are: to identify the power distribution patterns which appear in classroom interaction, to illustrate the discourse strategies employed by the teachers in order to exercise power, and to present forms of students’ resistance. In order to reach these objectives audio-recorded classroom interactions have been used; these recordings include five different school subjects (Romanian language and literature, English, History, Biology, Chemistry) from a Romanian school. The transcriptions of these audio-recordings constitute the data which are analysed based on Mei-Yee Wong’s (2015) patterns of teacher-student interactions together with Mary Phillips Manke’s (1997) characteristics of direct and indirect discourse strategies used by the teachers in the classroom. These two approaches to classroom power relations are adapted to the data. Thus, there are two patterns of interaction, namely: teacher domination pattern and power sharing pattern. The former pattern is associated with the teachers’ use of direct discourse strategies (among which I include the use of directives, the use of ‘I’ vs. ‘you’, and criticism); the latter pattern is associated with indirect discourse strategies (such as politeness formulas, inclusive ‘we’, attribution, humour/sarcasm, and small talk). Interruptions, lack of interest, silence, off-task chatting are identified as forms of students’ resistance in the classroom. The conclusions indicate that power distribution in classroom interaction is currently changing as compared to more traditional classes.
Keywords: teacher-student power relations, power distribution patterns, direct discourse strategies, indirect discourse strategies, students’ resistance
Cite this article: Mihaela Beschieru. CLASSROOM POWER AND WAYS OF SUBVERTING IT. Journal of International Scientific Publications: Language, Individual & Society 15, 71-87 (2021). https://www.scientific-publications.net/en/article/1002272/
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