Thinking and Saying in the Classroom

An Exploration of the Use of Projection by Teachers and Children

Jane Torr*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Citations (Scopus)


This article will analyze the manner in which children's ability to use language to represent the thoughts and sayings of themselves and others varies across grade levels in the elementary school (Year 1 children aged 6-7 years and Year 5/6 children aged 11-12 years). Specifically, the study focuses on the manner in which teachers and children use clause complexes which are related by projection, which occurs when the secondary clause is projected through the primary clause, which presents it as a locution or an idea. The semantic relationship holding between the clauses is referred to as prefacing by Hasan, who suggested that speakers who regularly use prefaced questions are subtly conveying the message that another's subjectivity is not knowable without specific locutions. The children's ability to express their own point of view and recognize that their perspective is not necessarily shared by others are important in terms of engaging in educationally valued discourse in the classroom. This study found that the frequency and range of prefacing varied significantly across child age groups. The teachers, however, did not differ in frequency and range of prefacing, regardless of the grade level.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-159
Number of pages19
JournalLinguistics and Education
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2000

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