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Action and Interaction in the Classroom: Teacher's Movement and Associated Pedagogical and Discursive Practices

Classrooms are interactive social environments where culturally negotiated practices become established and stabilized over time. In the classroom, teacher' and students' actions, including speech, gestures, manipulation of various objects and physical (bodily) positioning in the room constitute meaning-making resources used to communicate and to understand what is communicated. Particularly in lectures, the teacher's actions become the means through which the lesson is organized and interaction is structured. In this study, we shift the traditional focus of research on teaching and learning as primarily linguistic events, and propose to investigate the relation between the teacher's physical movement in the classroom and the pedagogical, interactive and discursive practices associated with this movement. Approaching lectures as multimodal, culturally and socially negotiated activities, we analyze the interrelations of physical, pedagogical, interactive and discursive practices, taking into account all the semiotic resources available in the setting, being those linguistic (speech, written words), imagistic (gestures, inscriptions) or material (the chalkboard, the layout of the room). We present the teacher's actions as encompassing- simultaneously and as part of the same meaning unit- the physical, pedagogical, interactive and discursive dimensions of teaching. We discuss the role of the teacher's physical movements as action that structures interaction in the classroom, further elaborating on the nature of lectures as multimodal events.

Pozzer-Ardenghi, L., & Roth, W.-M. (manuscript submitted for publication). Action and Interaction in the Classroom: Teacher's Movement and Associated Pedagogical and Discursive Practices.

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