Investigating higher education seminar talk

O'Keeffe, Anne and Walsh, Steve (2010) Investigating higher education seminar talk. Novitas-ROYAL (Research on Youth and Language), 4 (2).


In this paper, we consider how a combined corpus linguistics and conversation analysis methodology canreveal new insights into the relationship between interaction patterns, language use, and learning. The context of thepaper is higher education small group teaching sessions and our data are drawn from a one million-word corpus, theLimerick-Belfast Corpus of Academic Spoken English (LI-BEL CASE). In this study, our analysis is based on500,000 words of the corpus). Our methodology combines corpus linguistics (CL) and applied conversation analysis(CA), enabling quantitative findings to be elaborated by more close-up qualitative analysis of sequences ofinteraction. This CL-CA approach offers a fuller, richer description of small group teaching talk than would be foundusing either CA or CL alone. We suggest that awareness among practitioners of these relationships would helpfacilitate interactions which are more conducive to learning and in which students feel more engaged and involved.

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