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The teacher’s pathway through the classroom.: Learning and literacy in desk-interactions in the middle years.
Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Department of Educational Studies. Karlstad University, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences (starting 2013), Center for Language and Literature in Education.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-7691-2490
2014 (English)Conference paper, Abstract (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

In this presentation, I take an interest in how teaching and learning as social actions have to be actively accomplished in interactions between teachers and students in the institutional setting of the classroom. More precisely I focus on learning trajectories between teachers and students within subsequent situations over time and the practices relied upon for coming to situated agreement of the level of student learning, and for adjusting teaching and instruction in individual deskwork to these changing understandings.

Within CA, there is a growing interest in the ubiquitous role that issues related to knowledge have in the interactive organization of human sociality. This interest has brought new insights about the diverse ways in which epistemic stance is utilized as a resource in interaction (c.f. Stivers, Mondada, & Steensig, 2011; Heritage, 2012; Goodwin, 2013). This focus on epistemics is at the core of a growing body of research on learning that within a CA framing explores new ways of conceptualizing learning as changed participation in interaction (Melander, 2009; Lee, 2010; Sahlström, 2011). Here, I explore how participants orient to learning processes across situations, by relying on interactional resources such as epistemic topicalizations and reoccurring semiotic fields.

Analyzed data comes from a larger classroom video-ethnography on learning and literacy practices during the middle years, i.e. students aged 10 to 12 year in two Swedish schools.  Within this material, trajectories of learning in desk-interactions between teachers and students, i.e. when students work individually while the teacher moves around in the classroom to support them, have been traced. In the analysis I compare learning trajectories from two different perspectives. First I analyze examples where a teacher repeatedly meets the same student in interactions about the same learning content. Secondly I focus on changes in the teacher’s epistemic stance as he/she meets different students about the same learning content in repeated desk-interactions.

The varying functions in participants’ use of epistemic topicalizations and reoccurring semiotic fields are shown to be crucial resources to maintain, in different ways, the “sameness” in a certain constituted content through repeated learning situations, while at the same time making it possible for the teacher and the student to continuously change and differentiate their epistemic stance to this content. When comparing trajectories from the student’s and teacher’s perspective it becomes clear that learning in desk-interactions is constituted in the dynamic interplay between teacher’s and student’s learning, where the main feature of the teacher’s learning could be described as trying out a routine. The teacher’s pathway through the classroom could from this be described as an infrastructure for learning characterized of both differentiation and routinization (Schegloff, 2006). This in turn can simultaneously both enable and constrain student learning in these situations.



Goodwin, C. (2013). The co-operative, transformative organization of human action and knowledge. Journal of Pragmatics, 46(1), 8-23.

Heritage, J. (2012). The epistemic engine: Sequence organization and territories of knowledge. Research on Language & Social Interaction, 45(1), 30-52.

Lee, Y. (2010). Learning in the contingency of talk-in-interaction. Text & Talk, 30(4), 403-422.

Melander, H. (2009). Trajectories of learning : Embodied interaction in change. Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis : Uppsala University Library

Sahlström, F. (2011). Learning as social action. In J. K. Hall, J. Hellermann & S. P. Doehler (Eds.), L2 interactional competence and development . Bristol: Multilingual Matters.

Schegloff, E. (2006). Interaction: The infrastructure for Social Institutions, the Natural Ecological Niche for Language, and the Arena in which Culture is Enacted (70-96). In N.J. Enfield & S.C. Levinson, Roots of Human Sociality: Culture, Cognition and Interaction. Oxford: Berg.

Stivers, T., Mondada, L., & Steensig, J. (Eds.). (2011). The morality of knowledge in conversation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
National Category
Pedagogical Work
Research subject
Educational Work
URN: urn:nbn:se:kau:diva-34543OAI: diva2:760730
EARLI SIG 10, 21, 25 joint meeting. Opens spaces for interaction and learning diversities. 27-30 aug, Padova Italien
Available from: 2014-11-04 Created: 2014-11-04 Last updated: 2015-02-02Bibliographically approved

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Tanner, Marie
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