CLA Research Methods for Applied Linguists Workshop

CLA Research Methods for Applied Linguists Workshop
“Taking a Socially-Oriented Approach to Analyzing Classroom Interaction” | Debra Friedman, Indiana University


In this workshop we will explore a socially-oriented approach to analyzing language classroom interaction. While not denying that language learning is a cognitive process, socially oriented researchers see cognition as situated in a context that contributes to shaping both what is learned and how it is learned. This emphasis on the “situatedness” of language learning means that socially-oriented classroom-based research takes a holistic approach that examines interaction among multiple contextual features at the micro- (e.g., classroom talk), meso- (e.g., institutions or communities), and macro- (e.g., educational policies, language ideologies) levels.

This workshop focuses on analyzing classroom talk in terms of the social actions that are performed through language and other semiotic resources (e.g., gestures) and considers how these actions are shaped by local beliefs, values, ideologies of language and learning, and other features of the larger sociopolitical context in which the classroom is situated. We will also take a critical look at our own roles and positionality (e.g., social identities and relationships with participants) as researchers and how these must also be taken into account as part of the research context.

The workshop begins with a brief overview and critique of several approaches to analyzing classroom interaction, such as conversation analysis, systemic functional linguistics, and critical discourse analysis. We then move on to practical activities that actively engage participants in transcribing and analyzing examples of classroom talk from multiple perspectives and reflecting on how their own interpretive frameworks (e.g., beliefs derived from personal history, values, disciplinary training, etc.) and positionality have influenced decisions made during this process. The workshop concludes with a review of criteria for enhancing the credibility of interpretations and the ethical concerns that can arise when conducting situated classroom-based research.


Debra Friedman is an associate professor in the Department of Second Language Studies at Indiana University, Bloomington, where she teaches courses in second language pedagogy, qualitative research, and discourse analysis. Her research focuses on the social, cultural, and ideological aspects of language education in multilingual communities through the framework of language socialization. She is co-author (with Charlene Polio) of Understanding, Evaluating, and Conducting Second Language Writing Research (2017) and is currently finishing a book on qualitative and mixed methods approaches to research in second language classrooms.


Virtual Event