A Comparative analysis of teacher talk between advanced and fundamental English major courses

Jia Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The importance of teacher talk in EFL (English as a foreign language) class has aroused much attention in China since the late 1990s. On a basis of classroom discourse analysis, this paper has observed 14 courses with 21 hours in total from advanced and fundamental grades in an English department. The classroom observation has been transcribed to analyze the features of teacher talk in various English courses in terms of five dimensions - discourse quantity, questioning types, feedback manners, interactional modification features, and conversation chains. It is found that on average there is significant difference in those five dimensions between fundamental and advanced courses. In terms of discourse quantity, the teacher talk has occupied more than 80% of the total talk amount and the total teacher talk in advanced courses is more than that in fundamental ones; the number of display questions is much more than that of referential questions; evaluative feedbacks are more than discursive ones; all of the teachers prefer to employ confirmation checks to modify students' answer, and half of the conversational chains are IRF (Initial-Response-Follow-up) structure while another half are full of complicated chains. The paper then provides some suggestions and implications for EFL teaching in the light of these findings.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)316-328
Number of pages13
JournalSino-US English teaching
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2014

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