Ministry of Education, Saudi Arabia
University of Technology Sydney, Australia
Classroom discourse studies have addressed classroom talk, showing it to be the product and process of learning; these studies have examined the teacher’s capability in managing the classroom talk, along with analysing the other innumerable variables in a classroom setting. However, these kinds of studies have yet to reach ‘the beyond classroom setting’ that looks at the sociocultural context, both inside and outside the classroom. The scope of the current study involves broader sociocultural aspects than the capability of teachers in influencing the qua lity of classroom talk. One of the most influential aspects in the classroom is the understanding of intersubjectivity in relation to how learning is constructed in a specific cultural group. Importantly, this understanding has implications for how talk can be potentially developed in its quality via a dialogic approach (dialogic talk). A most intriguing question is how dialogic talk can be construed positively in a conservative society where criticality, the teacher – learner interpersonal relationships and the typical learning particularities of students are vastly different from that of a more democratic society. This paper reports on a teacher talk (TT) study in the Saudi Arabian context, analysing the management of talk by teachers and looking at the emerging potential for how the talk could be improved in this context. This study uses the lens of the Vygotskyan sociocultural theory (VST) to understand the quality of talk and unravel the complexity of typical classroom talk in this particular learning context.
Intersubjectivity, teacher talk, dialogic talk, sociocultural theory, criticality, conservative society