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An Analysis of English Listening and Speaking Classroom Discourse of College Non-English Majors

Author: LiXinLi
Tutor: SunXiaoHong
School: Shandong University
Course: English Language and Literature
Keywords: Critical Discourse Analysis Classroom Discourse Power
CLC: H319
Type: Master's thesis
Year: 2010
Downloads: 104
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Since the 1970s, discourse analysis researchers of the L2 classroom discourse achieved many research findings, but most of them still focused on linguistic features. In fact, the social and cultural factors on the classroom discourse also have a great influence on classroom discourse description, production and interpretation. Critical Discourse Analysis is an important branch of discourse analysis; it has received much research attention since 1970s. It combines linguistics, sociology, psychology, ethnography, mass media science and other multi-discipline research findings. It has been pointed out that the learning outcome depends on a large number of factors which are other than linguistics. The most important of them can be placed in two areas:psychological factors and sociological factors.Based on Furlough’s three-dimensional CDA approach, this paper analyzed the discourse of a listening and speaking class of a non-English classroom with both micro-and macro-perspectives included. The analysis was conducted in three stages:description of the textual features, interpretation of both text and context, and explanation at institutional and socio-cultural levels. The findings are as follow:(1) The teacher is the power holder and the whole classroom discourse is largely under her control. The students have accepted this kind of power relations.(2) In analyzing discourse marker "Ok" and modality, we find that the teacher tries tomitigate the relations between her and her students through discourse.(3) In analyzing teacher’s questions, we find students are probably afraid of making mistakes in class. They don’t like to be singled out. Sometimes, they could have given an answer, but due to various reasons, they keep silent. The students are more active to respond when they are involved in a meaningful communication context. Otherwise, they would rather respond passively or even give no response at all. There are a number of mismatches between the teacher’s understanding of the classroom discourse and the actual condition.The findings indicate that the power relations embodied in the classroom discourse are influenced by the dominant ideologies in the society. Teachers are in the controlling position of the class and the students recognize and adapt to such discourse relations in classroom discourse. Students’active response can be linked with their social needs, while their passive response can be considered as a kind of resistance against the teacher’s ignorance of their needs.In a word, no matter how people use language, the way they use language are decided by the society. Language teachers should apply CDA theory in their L2 classroom and help students to understand the limitations of language and discourse, and create the liberation of discourse. This liberation of discourse is "empowerment" that will help change the existing order of classroom discourse.

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CLC: > Language, writing > FOREIGN > English > Language teaching
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