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Conversations as space for learning

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Steve WalshORCiD


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This article reports on a microanalytic study of teachers’ and learners’ jointly created ‘space for learning’. Using data from two English language classes recorded in China, we identify specific interactional features which create space, enhance participation and increase opportunities for learning. Adopting the theoretical underpinnings and principles of conversation analysis, we demonstrate how teachers and learners create space for learning through the use of specific practices such as increased wait-time, reduced teacher echo, extended learner turns and increased planning time. Space is also created by teachers according to their ability to manage learner contributions in a positive and focused way: by shaping learner contributions through the use of scaffolding, paraphrasing and re-iterating. Implications for teacher education and classroom practice are discussed.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Walsh S, Li L

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: International Journal of Applied Linguistics

Year: 2013

Volume: 23

Issue: 2

Pages: 247-266

Print publication date: 15/01/2013

ISSN (print): 0802-6106

ISSN (electronic): 1473-4192

Publisher: Wiley Blackwell


DOI: 10.1111/ijal.12005


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