Social Significance Of Patterns Of Questioning In Classroom Discourse

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Social Significance Of Patterns Of Questioning In Classroom Discourse Since the time of Socrates, the pursuit of knowledge has been characterized by the skillful use of language and patterns of questioning to examine understanding and discover truth. Some twenty-four centuries later, language remains the primary medium and discourse the primary method of teaching and learning. While language is a valuable tool for exploration of most fields of study, the prevalence of oral communication in our lives often leads teachers and students to take language for granted. Educators would benefit from a more conscious understanding of the features and functions of oral communication in the classroom. Once we are made aware of the roles of …show more content…
Cazden goes on to discuss three general features and functions of language which "make communication so central" in schools (2-3). To begin with, language transmits curriculum; despite the wealth of technological advancements available for presenting information in the classroom, spoken language remains the primary medium for providing instruction and demonstrating what has been learned. Language is used to initiate, monitor, adjust, and evaluate cognitive processes.

Secondly, language communicates control; classrooms are "crowded human environments" in which one person -- namely the teacher -- is responsible for preventing and coping with disruptions, as well as and encouraging and enhancing learning processes (Cazden 2-3). While naturally occurring crowded environments are characterized by numerous "simultaneous autonomous conversations" (Cazden 2), the classroom situation relies on language rights and mores -- usually created by the institution and enforced by the teacher -- to establish and maintain social relationships.

Finally, language reflects personal identity; language is such an integral part of culture and socialization that students experience the sensation of vulnerability when asked to put themselves and their speech "on the line," so to speak, in front of peers and superiors. School is often the first place where children are expected to communicate independently (without help from parents) and publicly (in a forum where their
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