An Ethnographic Approach to Exploring Degree of Involvement in Oral Interactions: The case of L2 classrooms

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Department of English, Najafabad Branch, Islamic Azad University, Njafabad, Iran

2 Department of Foreign Languages, Islamic Azad University, Isfahan (Khorasgan) Branch, Isfahan, Iran


Abstract One of the main concerns in educational settings has been the degree of the learners’ involvement in learning and the extent to which they actively participate in classroom talks and interactions. The present study is an emic-based ethnographic study aimed at providing insights about patterns of talk and different degrees of interaction in EFL university classes with a specific focus on teacher’s role. To this end, three different classes were observed for twelve consecutive sessions. Students were both male and female senior EFL students at Najafabad Azad University. The age of the participants ranged between 22 and 28. These classes were taught by the same instructor so that the researcher was directly involved in observing participants’ interactions in the targeted classrooms and in the data collection procedures. The participants’ oral behavior was carefully observed and recorded. To guarantee higher validity, some participants were also interviewed. The results of data analysis revealed that male and female students showed different degrees of contribution to classroom interactions. However, the students’ degree of involvement in the classroom discussions were linked to the related schemata, type of activity, and learners’ interest in the conversation topic rather than interactants’ gender. In addition, most of the involvements were teacher-initiated and directed. Notably, the findings can be of considerable value to teachers’ professional development and can highlight the importance and the value of using specific strategies that can be introduced and employed by the teacher to increase the degree of the students’ involvement in classroom interactions as well as motivate them to take responsibility of their own learning.