Teacher expectancies, teacher behaviour and students' participation in classroom discourse

Klara Sedova, Zuzana Salamounova


There is a common consensus that students learn best through participation in rich and challenging classroom discourse. The aim of this study is to explore whether students viewed as weak by their teachers can productively participate in classroom discourse in literacy lessons. We used microethnographic discourse analysis to analyze video recordings from literacy lessons at a Czech lower secondary school. We focused on two low-expectancy students, who participated in the classroom discourse in different ways. While the first one was passive and unproductive, the second one participated in productive interactions and autonomously helped to construct knowledge in the classroom. Our analysis shows that a student’s way of participation in the classroom is influenced by their teacher’s behaviour. We examine the relationship between the teacher’s expectations and their behaviour so as to show that this relationship is stronger if the teacher focuses on the qualities of a student and weaker if the teacher focuses on their curricular aims.

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