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Zandi Ernomo - 012

ENGLISH CLASSROOM INTERACTION


Abstract

This paper discusses the language used in English classroom


interaction. The topic is interesting because one teacher may use
different language use when interacting with the students. semi
direct observation was taken in order to find out language
realisation between teacher and student in the class. Data
analysis was based on Flanders theory of interaction analysis
categorization (FIAC). The findings showed that the teacher
used direct and indirect influence when interacting with the
students. The student seemed to be in difficult situation when
they wanted to give response to teachers questions.

A. Introduction
Not only does classroom interaction between teacher and students build particular situation
within the class, it also encourages a student to talk so that they can be a good foreign language
speaker in both situations, that is, inside and outside the classroom. According to Chen (2015)
English learning is a lifelong journey, not one that begins and ends in a language classroom. In
Indonesia, It is important to have students be exposed and use target language as much as they can
since English is mostly used in the class instead of outside the class. To create classroom
interaction atmosphere, teacher may organize some activities that encourage and help students to
use their communication strategies. Some teachers may use both L1 and L2 in class while others
do not allow the use of L1 in the class. The present study focus on investigating target language
used by teacher and student in a classroom. The method used to gather the data is observation.
The data, in the form of video, was taken from YouTube. The class was quite small since there are
only seven students. The language allowed to use in the class was only target language, English.
The materials used in the class was adopted from a textbook and the topic was about the use of
internet.
B. Classroom Interaction
The meaning between communication and interaction may have little difference. According to
Oxford online dictionary, communicate means exchanging ideas, information, and news, while
interactions is reciprocal action or influence. In other words, communication only use verbal
language in order to transmit the message to others or give response. As for interaction, it uses
both verbal and non-verbal language so as to influence others and there is an action based on the
communication. For example, in the early stage of teaching, teachers may ask students some

questions related to the topic of lesson, which mostly in the form of referential question. At this
stage, the teacher communicate with the students and this is called two way communication
expecting someones response by means of verbal language. After delivering some questions to
introduce the lesson, the teacher may let the students complete the task based on the
communication. This is called interactions. Consequently, I may define classroom interaction as
the process of influencing each other between teacher and student in a classroom by means of
non-verbal and verbal language.
C. Common Pattern of Participants Classroom Interaction
There are some common patterns in organizing classroom interaction. 1) Teacher all
learners interaction; 2) teacher a learner or a group of learners interaction; 3) learner learner
interaction 4) a group of learners a group of learners interaction. Classroom teacher may
develop some activities from these classroom interaction.
The first pattern points out that the teachers role is a true leader who decide kinds of
activities in the classroom. Most educators agree that such pattern describes teacher centered
approach. In 1970, Flanders stated that two third of classroom activities consisted of talk and two
third of the talk was teachers talk. This pattern may occur in the learning process when the
teacher do controlled practice toward particular vocabulary or structure of target language. Such
learning process delineate the use of audiolingual approach through which the student practice
several target languages by drilling or repeating and memorization.
The second pattern may take place when the teacher do evaluation for one learner or a group
of learners. It is also used for lead in stage, or in the very beginning of teaching, and direct the
student/s into less guided activity. The third type may represent pair work activity, two students
working each other to complete a task. At this pattern, the teacher serves as consultant. In other
words, Jeremy harmer labels such function as prompter. It is better to understand that the
teacher should not give too much clues to the students, just let them think creatively. According to
Harmer when we prompt we need to do it sensitively and encouragingly but, above all, with
discretion. If we are too adamant we risk taking initiative away from the student. If, on the other
hand, we are too retiring, we may not supply the right amount of encouragement. As for the last
pattern, which is usually considered as group work, the teachers role is possibly as similar as the
third pattern, which is being a consultant or prompter.
Of four patterns, the last two patterns are supportive for creating classroom interaction
atmosphere. It has been shown that learners use considerably more language, and exploit a
greater range of language functions when working in small groups as opposed to teacher fronted
tasks in which all students proceed in a lockstep fashion. (Long et al. 1976 in Nunan 1991, 51).

Moreover, some experts believes that the students do not frequently make errors and even learn
each other mistakes when working in small groups (Porter, 1986)
D. Interaction Analysis
In order to understand what interaction analysis is, it is better to know the other two similar
analysis, that is: discourse analysis and conversation analysis.
Discourse analysis

Conversation

Interaction analysis

Method of

Invented

analysis
Naturalistic

Elicited

generating data

Elicited

Naturalistic

Naturalistic
Mode

Spoken

Spoken

Spoken

Written
Type of analysis

Categorical

Interpretive

Interpretive

Units of analysis

Linguistic

Non Linguistic

Both non-linguistic
and linguistic

Adopted from research methods in language learning by Nunan (1992)

As clearly seen on the table, interaction analysis favors data gathered through natural setting,
not invented. Having similar characteristic with conversation analysis, interaction analysis deals
with spoken rather than written data. To analyze the data, interaction analysts prefer to use
discursive and/or interpretive type of analysis. Then, interaction analysis is concerned with both
linguistic and non-linguistic aspect of spoken data.
Flanders (1970) proposed ten interaction analysis categories (FIAC) from which an observer
define the participants talk in the classroom.
Categories for Interaction Analysis

INDIRECT
INFLUENCE

1. Accept Feeling: Accepts and clarifies the feeling


tone of the students in a non-threatening manner.
Feeling may be positive or negative. Predicting or
recalling feeling are included.
2. Praises or encourages: Jokes that release tension,
but not at the expense of another individual;
nodding head, or saying um hum or go on are
included.
3. Accepts or uses ideas of students: clarifying,
building, or developing ideas suggested by a
student. As teacher brings more of his own ideas

into play, shift to category five.


4. Ask questions: asking a question about content or
procedure with the intent that a student answer
TEACHER
TALK

DIRECT
INFLUENCE

STUDENT TALK

5. Lecturing: giving facts or opinions about content


or procedures; expressing his own ideas, asking
rhetorical questions.
6. Giving directions: directions, commands, or orders
to which a student is expected to comply.
7. Criticizing or justifying authority: statements
intended to change student behavior from nonacceptable to acceptable pattern; bawling someone
out; stating why the teacher is doing what he is
doing; extreme self-reference.
8. Student talk response: talk by students in
response to teacher. Teacher initiates the contact or
solicits student statements.
9. Student talk initiation: talk by students which
they initiate. If calling on student is only to indicate
who may talk next, observer must decide whether
student wanted to talk. If he did, use this category.
10. Silence or Confusion: pauses, short periods of
silence and periods of confusion in which
communication cannot be understood by the
observer.

Adopted from a technique for quantifying teacher influence by Ned A. Flanders

E. Findings and discussion


I will discuss my findings based on the Flanders category. Concerning teachers talk, the
teacher used both direct and indirect influences to the students. For example, in the beginning of
teaching, teacher asked some questions to student, which was indirect influence. The intention of
asking those questions was to introduce the topic of the lesson so that the students could recall
their understanding about the lesson (i.e. building up students background knowledge). The
questions the teacher asked were in the form of referential questions (some questions addressed to
students because the teacher do not know the answer). When one student responded the questions,
the teacher focused her attention to the student and asked the student with a new question. This is
called nominated speaker.
Extract 1
T: Teacher, S: one of students in the class.
T: how often do you usually go to the internet?
S: everyday... or.
T: everyday okay (focusing teachers attention to the student answering the question). Do you
use it like for study or for work?

S: ahhhh.....
T: for fun....
S: (shaking his head)......
T: for entertainment.....
S: for entertainment usually...
T: okay usually...... what kind of websites do you usually visit?
S: facebook
T: facebook all right etc.
Another way to build up students knowledge, an EFL teacher usually use pictures or videos,
which is popular nowadays in English language teaching. As for direct influence of teachers talk,
the teacher used longer expression (i.e. noun clause) when conducting framing move (i.e. giving
directions or instructions for the next activity). For me, it is a bit complex to use when dealing
with low level students. Other shorter expression is welcome to use when the class is fulfilled
with low level learners like Okay.....now.
Extract 2
T: Teacher, S: one of students in the class
T: now. What I want you to do is to discuss...aha... what is most common... man uses internet
or women uses internet... talk a little bit first...you three... you two....yes.
S: okay
Concerning target language produced by the students, most of students talk occurred when
they were given a task and worked on it in small group. At this moment, one student initiated the
talk and was responded by the teacher. Although the teacher was working with low level
students, in my opinion, the teacher insisted to use target language when explaining some
difficult words encountered by students while reading the text. One advantage of totally using
target language in the class (i.e. direct method) is the students have a lot of opportunity to get in
touch with the target language. However, in some occasions, it may create confusion among
students in class.
Extract 3
T: Teacher, S: one of students in the class
S: What is the meaning of word attachment?
T: Ok attachment... when you are sending an e-mail, sometimes you have documents, all
right, the action is to..... attach or....
S: (still looks confused)
T: when you have a clipper with paper [s] [and then] you put it together [it means] you
attach. In the internet, you cannot do it with a paper. [instead] you do it with electronic.
S: sorry... [its] like you post that
T: yeah yeah yes, exactly.

Extract 4
T: Teacher, S: one of students in the class

S: What does it mean search forward?


T: ah... When you click on the google, you will find this bar...box (search engine). What
exactly do you do for this?
S: ..... (unclear response/talk)
T: exactly... To search for specific information
The other aspects of interaction analysis is silence period. In one scene of the video, the
teacher asked female student a referential question and she was a way longer to respond the
question. The teacher may have variety of judgement about that. First, the student might have
been in difficulty to catch the question and confuse as to what to say. Second, the teacher might
have justify that the female student was impolite. Regarding the latter justification, it is bound
with cultural diversity where some nations regard longer response is fine, while the other nations,
mostly native speaker from English speaking countries, regard it as impolite behaviour.
F. References
Chen, H.I 2015 Learner Autonomy and the Use of Language Learning Strategies in a Taiwanese
Junior High School. Journal of Studies in Education. Vol. 5, No.1 ISSN 2162-6952.
Flanders, N.A. Interaction analysis: a technique for quantifying teacher influence. ERIC.
Harmer, J. 2001. The Practice of English Language Teaching. Harlow. Longman.
http://www.oxforddictionaries.com/
Nunan, D. 1991. Language teaching methodology: a textbook for teachers. Hemel Hempstead.
Prenctice hall
Nunan, D. 1992. Research methods in language learning. Cambridge: Cambridge university
press.