Teacher´s talk in different grades and across subjects
Oracy preserves more attention again. Resultantly teacher´s questions and teacher´s language is required in various disciplines. IRE-schemas are known as advises for teaching (Mehan 1979). Furthermore, these schemas can be used and developed by researchers. Oracy as a non-permanent language skill can be conserved via audio- and videotapes. That enables researchers to find answers not only about time on task, but also enables discourses between teachers and the plenum or single students. They can detect influences of oral language on development of content in subjects or speaking behaviour in special learning groups too. Teachers capture the role of a speaking model (Kleinschmidt 2016).
We would therefore like to discuss which contributions perfectly fit into the oral language education within a variety of subjects and ages. Resultantly, our symposium presents three distinct papers in order to display an overview of the language use in oracy from primary until secondary school students.
Firstly, Dieter Isler and Claudia Hefti will present an intervention study in a pre- post-design in kindergarden classes. The intervention supports teachers to promote the production of oral texts in everyday life communication. Consequently, the teachers preserved individual video-based coaching instructions and a coursework, that has been invented for a small group. The presenters would like to focus on the new instrument to measure teachers' interactive support.
The second paper of Anke Börsel about effective teacher´s talk is based on hypothesis of interactional language acquisition. In her explorative video-study she is researching language awareness of teacher´s talk in secondary school classes. She attempts to investigate a variety of specific micro-scaffolding and feedback skills in language sensitive frames.
Anne-Grete Kaldahl discusses an integration of oracy in the Norwegian school reform. Teachers have to teach oracy across the curriculum. She presents a rhetoric topos analyse of interviews with nine tenth-grade teachers. Her expected complex oracy construct obtains subject characteristics and features across various disciplines.
A picture from theory into practice, from hypothesis building to hypothesis proofing using quantitative to qualitative methods is necessary to restart the view on oracy in school´s teaching talk and its rhetorical use at school.
Kleinschmidt, Katrin (2016). Sprachliches Lehrerhandeln als Bestandteil der professionellen Kompetenz von Lehrerinnen und Lehrern – Konturen eines wenig beachteten Forschungsfeldes. In Leseräume. Zeitschrift für Literalität in Schule und Forschung (3), 98-114.
Mehan, Hugh (1979). Learning lessons. Social organitation in the classroom. Cambridge/London: Harward press.
Skinner, Barbara (2017). Effective teacher talk: a threshold concept in TESOL. In English Language Teaching Journal 71 (2), 150–159.
- Dieter Isler & Claudia Hefti
Challenging communicative tasks such as reporting real life experiences, inventing stories, explaining
knowledge or negotiating points of view are essential in classroom communication and crucial for
successful academic learning. If provided with the opportunities and tailored support by their
language models (Bruner, 1983 ), children begin to acquire these abilities as soon as they start
using oral language to represent complex information transcending the space of shared perception.
However, young children's familiarity with these oral texts varies widely depending on the linguistic
and educational practices in their families (Heller, 2012). Furthermore, educators in daycare settings
and kindergarten classrooms do not yet sufficiently focus on promoting linguistically and cognitively
challenging conversations (König, 2006). As recent studies show, the interactional support provided
by educators and teachers can be improved by professional development, and progress in teacher
support positively affects the children's language acquisition (Piasta, 2012). These promising results
have not yet been confirmed for children's higher order text abilities, though.
The intervention study «Promoting oral texts in kindergarten classrooms» aims at supporting
teachers to purposefully and effectively promote the production of oral texts in everyday
kindergarten communication. In a pre-post-follow-up-design with intervention and control group, the
quality of the teachers' interactional support and the abilities of the children to produce oral texts
will be measured at the beginning of the first (t0) and the second (t1) as well at the end of the second
(t2) year of kindergarten. The teachers of the intervention group will receive a nine months
professional development program consisting of both individual video-based coaching and small
In our paper, we will briefly introduce the study design and the children's instrument (which has
already been tested and published) and then focus on the new instrument to measure teachers'
interactive support for the acquisition of oral text abilities in kindergarten children. We will present
the theoretical foundations, the rating instrument and the statistical analysis of a trial with 36
Hausendorf, H. & Quasthoff, U. (1996). Sprachentwicklung und Interaktion: Eine linguistische Studie
zum Erwerb von Diskursfähigkeiten. Opladen: Westdeutscher Verlag.
Piasta, S., Justice, L., Cabell, S., Wiggins, A., Turnbull, K. & Curenton, S. (2012). Impact of professional
development on pre-school teachers’ conversational responsivity and children’s linguistic
productivity and complexity. Early Childhood Research Quarterly, 27, 387–400.
- Anke Börsel
Because of its a dominating role in instructional settings, different areas of academic reserach focus
on teacher talk as cognitive, communicative, interactional or institutional concept.
The presentations will look into contrasting concepts of teacher talk, their underlying features, and
what we know about teaching effective teacher talk to student teachers. Its theoretical onset is
rooted in the interactional language acquisition hypothesis, which is one of the most far reaching
hypothesis and applies to language acquisition processes in general (Lightbown/Spada 2010). The
leading questions enquire interactional features (micro-scaffolding and feedback), the actual amount
of teacher talk and its caracteristics, i.e. features of voice, input, pedagogical purpose (Skinner 2017:
154), choice of words, collocations, syntagmas (Harren 2011: 107ff) in language sensitive teaching
It is expected that the teacher talk in the sample is less time-consuming than in other lessons, that it
is mainly interactional and used for pedagogical purposes. The language used by the teacher is
expected to be the variety used in school for organizing the classroom, starting and ending the
lessons and maintaining it.
The sample is explorative and consists of five hours in lessons of technology at a secondary school in
Berlin (Germany), recorded in 2014. The lessons were task-based and focused on a curriculum-based
topic of work placement or professional training; they were taught by different student teachers. The
data was analysed by using software for qualitative research (MAXQDA). The lessons were planned,
conducted and rated as language sensitive (Thürmann/Vollmer 2013).
The implications of content-domain knowledge, the interlocuturs and their age will frame the
discussions of the results.
Lightbown, Patsy; Spada, Nina (2010): How languages are learned. 3. ed., 6. impr. Oxford: Oxford
Univ. Press (Oxford handbooks for language teachers).
Skinner, Barbara (2017): Effective teacher talk: a threshold concept in TESOL. In: English Language
Teaching Journal 71 (2/April), S. 150–159.
Thürmann, Eike; Vollmer, Helmut J. (2013): Schulsprache und Sprachsensibler Fachunterricht: Eine
Checkliste mit Erläuterungen. In: Charlotte Röhner und Britta Hövelbrinks (Hg.): Fachbezogene
Sprachförderung in Deutsch als Zweitsprache. Theoretische Konzepte und empirische Befunde zum
Erwerb bildungssprachlicher Kompetenzen. Weinheim: Beltz-Juventa, S. 212–234.
- Anne-Grete Kaldahl
This paper reports on how teachers, across subjects in tenth-grade in Norwegian lower secondary
schools, give meaning to oral competence (oracy), the teaching, and assessment of oracy.
The background is the latest school reform in Norway (based on DeSeCo competencies (OECD,
2005)), where oracy became a key competence (Norwegian Knowledge Promotion, 2007). Oracy is
expected to be taught and assessed across the curriculum, this became the responsibility of each
individual teacher, since the assessment plan was not revised accordingly. However, Norwegian
teachers have arranged oracy exams since 1883 (Aksnes, 2016). Despite the political importance, it
cannot be taken for granted that the teachers know how to define, teach, and assess oracy, this
research attempts to unravel: How do teachers define, teach, and assess oracy, what is the
underlying construct, what norm sources do teachers utilize in their professional judgement?
A rhetoric topos analyse was conducted to interpret the interviews with nine tenth-grade teachers at
the lower secondary level in Norway. The interviews will give some insight into the teachers’ doxa
knowledge, which in return is an important source to the teachers understanding of norms.
Based on the results from the analysis of the interviews, the content of the utterance is the most
valued part of oral competency. The findings indicate that the teachers value a complex oracy
construct, which has subject characteristics, but simultaneously entails features, which are consistent
across disciplines. Rhetorical skills such as the ability to display character (i.e. ethos), have emotional
influence on the audience (i.e. pathos), discuss, argue (i.e. logos) etc. matter in the assessment
Aksnes, L. (2016). Om muntlighet som fagfelt. [Oracy as a discipline]. In Kåre Kverndokken (Ed.), 101
Måter å fremme muntlige ferdigheter på- om muntlig kompetanse og muntlighetsdidaktikk [Ways to
promote oracy – about oracy and oracy didactics] (pp. 15–34). Bergen: Fagbokforlaget.
DeSeCo. (2005). Definition and Selection of Competencies. Executive summary. Organisation for
Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). Retrieved from
Norwegian Knowledge Promotion, (2007) Udir. Oslo