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Journal of English Language and Pedagogy

A CONVERSATION ANALYSIS: TEACHER TALK AT


EMERALD CRUISE SHIP AND HOSPITALITY COLLEGE
YOGYAKARTA

Akiko Rahmawati; Imam Ghozali; Hasti Robiasih

Abstract
This research aimed to: 1) describe the teacher-students interaction patterns, 2) investigate the
factors that contribute to the pattern of interaction in the classroom, and 3) find out the impact
of teacher talk on students’ contribution.This research concerns with the Conversation
Analysis of classroom interaction on English for Specific Purpose program. It focuses on
classroom interaction and teacher talk at Emerald Cruise Ship and Hospitality Training
Center in Yogyakarta. The researcher conducted classroom observation in which three
lessons of three participant teachers were video recorded, transcribed and analyzed using Self
Evaluation of Teacher Talk Grid and Conversation Analysis. The result obtained that the
classroom interaction falls under pre, side, and insertion sequence. The turns of the sequence
sometimes went smooth but it sometimes went unsmooth. The interactional features occurred
in the classroom have role to manage the smooth turn of the interaction. There were 16
interactional features found from the data, they were scaffolding, direct repair, Content
feedback, Extended Wait Time, Referential question, Display Question, seeking clarification,
Confirmation check, Extended learner’s turn, Teacher echo, Teacher Interruption, Extended
teacher’s turn, Turn Completion, and Form-Focused Feedback. Besides, there were four
factors that contributed to the pattern of interaction in the classroom, they were turn taking,
repair, overlaps an interruption, and topic management. These factors played a big role of
creating a good classroom interaction.

Key words: Classroom interaction; Conversation Analysis; SETT Framework.


Journal of English Language and Pedagogy

Background

Teacher talk is an essential part of classroom interaction. This analysis helps


teachers in understanding about how teachers use language in their teaching to
manage the class and create learning opportunities. Cazden pointed out that teachers
deliver their teaching using spoken language and the students also show their
language performance using language too. (Cazden, 1987).

As a learning facilitator in ESP, teacher gives students’ exposure about specific


English skills they should master without dominating the whole classroom
interaction. Students will have opportunities to use the target language in the class
more intensively with the other classmates or with teacher than in EFL class. Unlike
in EFL, in conducting ESP programs, teachers are using the vocabularies based on
the field of study which is not completely familiar with. So, to make the teacher talk
work well in the classroom, teacher should have sufficient background knowledge
based on the students’ needs. Such as the understanding of students’ needs and the
role of teacher talk in conversation.

The important role of teacher talk is it has a deep impact for the classroom
interaction that occurs with the students. It is as a medium for students to involve in
the classroom conversation and take a part in the learning process. It is meant that
through teacher talk, student can have more learning opportunity. There are some
considerations indeed in controlling the teacher talk. Those are about the teachers’
knowledge about their class. It includes the students’ needs, wants, and lacks.

Teacher talk in ESP is considered can influence students in learning language in


the classroom. Teachers can give direct and indirect influence to the students as they
have more power to control the class than the students. Moreover, teachers’
interactional understanding is needed in presenting the best teacher talk in the class.
More fundamentally is that teachers are the best instruments to regulate the quantity
and quality of language use in the classroom. This study attempted to examine the
Journal of English Language and Pedagogy

classroom interaction at LPK Emerald, Maguwoharjo, Yogyakarta. LPK Emerald is


one of the hospitality and cruise ship training centers in Yogyakarta. It is focusing on
teaching job seekers of Hospitality and cruise ship. It has three main departments;
they are Housekeeping, Food and Beverages, and Laundry. In Addition, on each
department, English speaking skill is highly needed to be mastered by all of the
students. The English classes in this college can be classified as English for Specific
Purpose (ESP) which is focusing on English for Occupational Purposes (EOP).

Based on researcher’s observation, there were many constraints found in teaching


and learning in ESP class at LPK Emerald. First, many English learners could not
speak and write fluently and accurately in English. Thus, the problem of many
students’ failure to communicate effectively needs to be confronted. As a role model
of students’ language use, teachers are expected to have good control over their talk
while they are teaching. Second, Teachers tend to limit speaking opportunities for
their students by asking questions that fulfill educational goals but prevent the
participants of the conversation from developing conversation. However, teachers
need to understand that because of teacher-fronted activities dominate the lesson, they
should support learning by proper use of language features. The last constraint was
when teachers asked a question to a student or class, they have to wait for an answer
for long time. It was about a silent student in the classroom, and there were more than
one student kept silent in the class. Those matters are about students’ response in the
class. The problems of this research were 1) How does the teacher and students
interaction pattern develop?, 2) What factors from both teacher and students sides
contribute to the pattern of interaction?, 3)How is the impact of teacher talk on
students’ contribution on interaction?
Journal of English Language and Pedagogy

Literature Review

A. Conversation Analysis Approach


Conversation analysis (CA) focuses on the detailed organization of everyday
interaction. Markeee (2007) described that CA focuses on banal, everyday
Conversation using fine-grain analyses, often of quite short conversational
extracts. Pedagogically-related question in CA include:
a. How do speakers take orderly turns in conversation?
b. How do speakers open and close conversations?
c. How do speakers launch new topics, close exhausted topics, etc?
d. How that conversation is generally progresses satisfactorily with little or no
conflict or confusion?

It is better to know what can make a conversation. Based on Cook (1989) as


cited in Cutting (2002: 28), a conversation is a discourse mutually constructed
and negotiated in time between speakers; it is usually informal and unplanned. A
talk may be classed as a conversation when:
a. It is not primarily necessitated by a practical task
b. Any unequal power of participants is partially suspended
c. The number of participants is small
d. Turns are quite short
e. Talk is primarily for the participants not for an outside audience
(Thomas in Cutting, 2002: 28)
For example, a doctor-patient, a TV quiz show, and teacher-student exchange
are not conversation because they do not have all properties listed above. There is
an unequal power balance in doctor-patient exchange since the doctor takes
control of the event and is necessitated by a practical task of diagnosing and
prescribing. The unequal power also occurs in the exchange of teacher-student in
a class. While TV quiz show is certainly for outside audience.
Journal of English Language and Pedagogy

In a conversation, there is always local management organization operating


within every conversation. The local management is a set of convention which
control the turns, that is getting turns, keeping them, or giving them away (Yule,
1996: 72). The local management is governed by some basic principles that are
turn talking, adjacency pairs, and sequences.
a. Turn Taking
Turn taking is a basic finding which characterizes conversation at where
one participant, A, talks, stops; another, B, starts, talks, stops; and it will be
obtained as A-B-A-B-A-B distribution talk across two participants (Levinson,
1983; 296). Every time the participant has the right to speak, they are called as
having the floor and can attempt to get the floor. “Any possible change-of-
turn point” (Yule, 1996: 72) or “a point in a conversation where a change of
turn is possible” (Cutting, 2002: 29) is called a Transition Relevance Place
(TRP).
In having the conversation, sometimes the participants try to speak at the
same time, which is called overlap (Yule, 1996: 72), as the reverse of overlap,
sometimes there is an absence of vocalization between the participants which
is called as silence (Humanika, 2007: 73). If one speaker actually turns over
the floor to another and the other does not speak, which produce a silence,
intending to carry meaning, the silence is called as an attributable silence
(Cutting, 2002: 29).
b. Adjacency Pairs
There is always pattern in a conversation which apparently happens
automatically. The pattern is likely to be question-answer, offer-accept, blame-
deny, apology-minimization, etc. This pattern is called as adjacency pairs at
where the participants are having the turn taking system and thus operating
the first and second part of the conversation.
Schegloff and Sacks as in Levinson (1983: 303), characterizes adjacency
pairs as two utterances that are adjacent, produced by different speakers,
Journal of English Language and Pedagogy

ordered as first part and second part and typed, so that a particular first part
requires a particular second, for example offers require acceptances or
rejection, greetings require greetings, and so on.
c. Sequences
Having the conversation, the participants are constructing certain
sequences. The sequences can be pre-sequences, insertion sequences, and
opening and closing sequences (Cutting, 2002: 31).
1) Pre-sequences
The term pre-sequence refers both to a certain kind of turn and a
certain kind of sequence containing that type of turn (Levinson, 1983:
345). There are some kinds of pre-sequence, such as pre-invitations (I’ve
got two tickets for the rugby match…), pre-request (are you busy
tonight?), and pre-announcements (you will never guess!) (Cutting, 2004:
31).
2) Insertion sequences
Often in a talk exchange, the first part does not immediately receive
the second parts. There are sometimes other sequences embedded between
the first part and second part of the talk exchange. This insertion is called
the insertion sequence. For example of insertion sequence is:
A: Do you want some of those cakes? (Turn 1)
B: Do they look good? (Turn 2)
A: Er, no (Turn 3)
B: No (Turn 4)
The first part (Turn 1) is actually responded in Turn, which within its
sequence, Turn 2 and Turn 3 are embedded within the conversation.
3) Opening and closing sequences
There is in fact typical opening sequence structure within a
conversation. Levinson (1983: 309) explains that openings are
constructed largely from adjacency pairs: thus there are typically paired
Journal of English Language and Pedagogy

Hellos as an exchange off greetings, self-identifications with paired


recognitions, and an exchange of How are you each with their paired
responses. The sequence run typically as first part-second part which is
called as summon for the first part and answer for the second part, which
exchange establishes and open channel for talk.
B. Teacher Talk
Classroom is the main place for students to use the target language. The kind
of language used by the teacher for instruction in the classroom is known as
teacher talk (TT). For this term, it is defined in Longman Dictionary of Language
Teaching and Applied Linguistics as:
“that variety of language sometimes used by teachers when they are in the
process of teaching. In trying to communicate with learners, teachers often
simplify their speech, giving it many of the characteristic of foreigner talk
and other simplified styles of speech addressed to language learners”
(Richard & Schmidt, 2002, p.471).

Second Language Acquisition’s researcher, Ellis (1985, p. 145) has formulated


his view about teacher talk:
“Teacher talk is special language that teachers use when addressing L2
learners in the classroom. There is systematic simplification of the
formal properties of the teacher’s language… studies of teacher talk
can be divided into those that investigate the type of language that
teachers use in language classrooms and those that investigate in the
type of language they use in subject lessons.”

TT is used in the class when the process of teaching and learning still
going on. It is used by the teacher in conducting the activities in the
classroom. It is can be seen when the teacher gives instructions to the students
Journal of English Language and Pedagogy

and manages the classroom activities. Teacher use the target language to
encourage the bonding of communication in the classroom.
Teacher Talk is the language typically used by foreign language
teachers in the process of teaching. Allwright and Bailey claim that “talk is
one of the major ways that teachers convey information to learners, and it is
also one of the primary means of controlling learner behavior” (1991, p. 139).
Studying the instructor’s classroom speech has been in the focus of attention
for several reasons. Firstly, teacher talk is the major source of comprehensible
target language input in the instructed language learning environment, thus it
plays an integral role not only in the organization of the classroom but also in
the process of acquisition (Nunan, 1991, p.189). Secondly, empirical data
obtained in EFL setting suggest that teacher dominate classroom speech; on
average teacher talk accounts for between one half and three quarters of the
talking done in foreign language classroom (Allwright, and Bailey, 1991).
C. Self Evaluation of Teacher Talk (SETT)
SETT or Self-Evaluation of Teacher Talk was introduced by Steve
Walsh in 2006. He emphasized that the interaction and classroom activities
are linked. Walsh has also stated that the SETT is designed to help teachers
both to describe the classroom interaction of their lessons and to foster the
understanding of interactional processes. As a lesson progresses, teachers’
pedagogic goals are constantly shifting in order to take account of their
agenda of the moment, to deal with unexpected problems, to vary the
interaction and so on. Walsh (2006) has also stated that the SETT is designed
to help teachers both to describe the classroom interaction of their lessons and
to foster the understanding of interactional processes. The position adopted is
that the single L2 classroom context does not exist. Contexts are locally
constructed by participants through and in their interaction in the light of
overall institutional goals and immediate pedagogic objectives. The notion of
the L2 lesson context is too broad brushed. Contexts are locally produced and
Journal of English Language and Pedagogy

can be transformed at any moment. In many classroom context, it is however


not uncommon for teachers to retain control of interaction, interrupting
student and taking control of the topic. While this may be inevitable, there are
times, as in classroom context mode, when relinquishing control of turn-
taking and topic choices are fundamental interactional strategist. Below are
Walsh’s interactional features:
Table 2.1 Walsh’s interactional feature

NUMBER LABEL SYMBOL DEFINITION


1. Scaffolding SCF - Reformulation, rephrasing a
learner’s contribution
- Extension, extending a learner’s
contribution
- Modeling, correcting a learners
contribution
2. Direct DR Correcting an error quickly and
Repair directly
3. Content CF Giving feedback to the message
Feedback rather than the words
4. Extended EW Allowing sufficient time (several
Wait time seconds) for students to respond
or formulate a response
5. Referential RQ Genuine questions to which the
Questions teacher/students does not know
the answer. This can include
asking about opinions, feelings,
and experiences
6. Display DQ Asking questions to which the
Questions teacher knows the answer
Journal of English Language and Pedagogy

7. Seeking SC - Teacher asks a student to clarify


Clarification something the student has said
- Student asks teacher to clarify
something the teacher has said
8. Confirmation CC Making sure that the teacher has
Checks correctly understood the learner’s
contribution
9. Extended ELT Learner turn of more than one
Learner’s clause
turn
10. Teacher TE - teacher repeats a previous
Echo utterance
- teacher repeats a learner’s
contribution
11. Interruptions TI Interruption a learner’s
contribution
12. Extended ET Teacher turn of more than one
teacher turn clause
13. Turn TC Completing a learner’s
Completion contribution for the learner
14. Form- FF Giving feedback on the words
focused used, not the message
Feedback

Methodology

A. Type of the Research


Journal of English Language and Pedagogy

This research used Conversation analysis (CA) as the approach. The aim of
using CA as the approach of the study was the researcher interested in
investigating the construction of the interaction. The researcher was interested of
the construction of classroom talk by examining the turn taking system between
the teacher and students interaction in the classroom. This research presented
qualitatively the new understanding of classroom modes in line with classroom
interaction that discussed the description and characterization of CA as the
approach and the framework of SETT proposed by Walsh (2006), designed to
help teachers both describe the classroom interaction of their class and foster an
understanding of interactional processes.
B. Research Setting
The researcher examined the interaction’s phenomena appeared in teaching
and learning activities in LPK Emerald started from January 2017. The college is
located at Jalan Raya Tajem 42, Sleman, Yogyakarta. This school was chosen by
the researcher because this institution provided English for Specific Purposes as
the main subject of the program.
C. Data and Source of the Data
The data for the research were in the form of classroom interaction. They
were collected through recording technique in English speaking classes on
January.
D. Research Instrument
The data of the research were obtained through classroom observation while
filming. The observation was needed to measure the interaction in the classroom,
focusing on the participants of the communications gestures and expressions. The
researcher collected the data from literary study, transcription, and desk research.
E. Data Collecting Techniques
Researcher collected the data through transcribing the classroom interaction
from the form of video to the written transcriptions. The researcher gave the
transcripts of conversation some markers to make them understandable. The
Journal of English Language and Pedagogy

markers of transcription system such as “T” for teacher, “L” for the learner, and
bold marker for the researcher’s comment or information were applied in all data.
Findings and discussion
A. Findings
Interactional feature that is dealing with the teacher talk was the phenomena
that the researcher observed to answer this first research question. These
following tables are the finding of SETT grid’s observation the data:
1) Classroom A
Table 1.01
Classroom A’s Interactional Features
Number Interactional features Frequency
Teacher A Teacher B Teacher C
1 Scaffolding 1 3 5
2 Direct repair 1 4 3
3 Content feedback 121 13 21
4 Extended Wait Time 2 5 5
5 Referential question 9 14 6
6 Display Question 1 6 7
7 seeking clarification 18 23 28
8 Confirmation check 7 4 5
9 Extended learner’s turn 2 19 18
10 Teacher echo 1 2 2
11 Teacher Interruption 0 0 0
12 Extended teacher’s turn 1 4 7
13 Turn Completion 1 3 0
14 Form-Focused 30 3 0
Feedback
Journal of English Language and Pedagogy

Discussion
1. Teacher and students interaction pattern
From the analysis of the lessons’ transcripts, the researcher found that the
two participant teachers displayed many interactional features to provide learning
opportunities. At the same time, many features were absent or limited. Mostly,
teacher 1 provided a lot of content feedback to the students. This kind of feedback
was useful to the students to promote their involvement. Teacher B tend to use
positive feedback after students’ response, joined with teacher echoes. The aim
was to encourage students to create their confidence, so they did not hesitate to
answer. The aim behind teachers’ echo was to amplify learners’ responses and to
provide the ideal answer that every student could hear.
The researcher was also found two types of questions that appeared in
teacher-students interaction of teacher A, B, and C, it was referential and display
questions. However, the use of these questions’ types, learners’ output was limited
in the form of one word or two which was not enough. The output, that was very
important in learning process, was weak. Students did not produce or practice
language as they should do. At the same time teacher B did not elaborate her
students’ utterances. In fact, in the ESP class, especially in speaking class, English
is the means by which teaching is carried out and also goals to be reached. In
teaching language, teacher should be interested in the correct answers and in the
production itself. Teacher A used a limited request for clarification, which was a
way of negotiating meaning and a strategy to elaborate learner’s contributions.
The researcher observed that Teacher A jumped to clarify her students utterances
before giving them opportunity to clarify their utterances. So, by applying this
way, teacher denied the students’ learning opportunities. Teacher was too quick to
clarify her students’ response.
Concerning Teacher B and C, there were not many differences compared
to teacher A. As regards the questions asked by Teacher B, the researcher found
that teacher B and C asked many display questions which the answers were
Journal of English Language and Pedagogy

already known to them. So the students’ output due to their questions was limited.
Many times the researcher found that the teacher answered her own questions
what could partially justify the small number of positive feedback compare to the
question asked.
After analyzing the interactional features, the researcher could conclude
that teachers’ questions occupied the majority of teacher talk in which display
questions were overused with a little use of referential questions for teacher B.
There were low efforts from the teacher to extend their learners’ turns because
they were only provide positive feedback rather than elaborating their students’
contributions. In other hands, there was almost absent of clarification requests,
confirmation checks, and comprehension checks which gave ideas about the
status of negotiation meaning in the classroom. In general teacher talk most of the
time were to ask questions, give feedback, clarify learners’ contributions that did
not help so much in involving students to produce their language.
2. Factors that contribute to the patterns of interaction
After examining teacher-students interaction focusing on Teacher Talk, the
researcher sought now to answer the second question of this research. It was
about the factors contributed to the patterns of interaction. There were some
factors that had important roles on overall flows of the classroom’s interaction.
They were turn taking, repair, overlaps and interruption, topic management, and
teachers’ language.
All data that were observed by the researcher showed that teachers and
student were able to pass and interrupt the turns of conversation. Teachers gave
free access to all students to involve in the conversation by letting them to ask
questions or show their feeling in classrooms’ discussion. In addition, teachers
were not always choosing the next speaking turns in the class, so students could
speak freely and naturally.
Errors occurred in so many ways in the conversation from all of the data.
Although there were a lot of errors made by the students, they were not becoming
Journal of English Language and Pedagogy

obstacles in conducting the conversation. Considering that classrooms that the


researcher observed were Speaking Classrooms, so teachers were not focusing on
repairing students’ errors. Based on the data, teachers sometime scaffold students’
contribution by reforming, adding any extensions, and modeling.
Based on the data of this research, overlaps and interruptions had very low
numbers of appearance. Although overlapping and interrupting the talk showed
the participants of conversations’ understandings of the talk, they were rarely
appeared on the data.
One of the important factors that affected the coherence of an interaction
is topic management. Some of the interactions on the data had good topic
management, but some of them were not. The whole topic of conversation in the
classroom was mentioned in the beginning of the class. Teacher played an
important role in managing the topic of the interaction . Based on researcher’s
opinion, the general topic of classroom’s interaction was decided by the teachers
before entering the class. So, the topic of the interaction was designed by teacher
through their lesson plan. Based on the data, there were three topics to be
discussed in the classrooms as what researcher mentioned in the beginning of this
chapter. In maintaining the topic to be discussed for full session of the class was
not easy. There were some sequences when students or teacher talked about
another thing in the middle of the discussion. In other hand, teachers still had full
control of the interaction in the class. So they could bring the discussion to the
main topic.
The language use by teachers in teaching and learning activities usually
formed in simple language style. It is used to make students understand easily
with the intention of the teacher. It is one of the ways to build good
communication between teacher and students. In conducting activities, teacher
often gives students some instructions using target language to encourage students
to bond in the conversation. So, teacher language choice played important role in
creating the bonding of students and teacher interaction. By choosing simple
Journal of English Language and Pedagogy

language based on student’s language level, the classroom interaction would


work.
3. Impact of Teacher Talk on students’ contribution
Teacher Talk is a way from teachers to convey information to the
students and it is also one of the primary means of controlling learner
behavior. It could be said that the impact of teacher talk could make students’
physical learning environment became well organized, students also could
produce correct forms, and promote their oral fluency. Some kinds of teacher
talk that can give impact for students to contribute in the interaction were
teacher feedback, the types of questions used by the teacher and the request
for clarification.
Conclusion
Through classroom observation and the analysis of the lesson’s transcript based
on the classroom’s original video, the researcher came to the conclusion of the
research. Following are the conclusion list based on the research:
1. There were 16 kinds of adjacency pairs found by the researcher from the three
data of teacher-students conversation in the classroom. They were greeting-
greeting, apology- forgive, thanks-acknowledgement, information-
acknowledgement, compliment-acceptance, criticism-acceptance, blame-denial,
offer-acceptance, offer-rejection, request-grant, request-refusal, summon-answer,
request-put off, request-challenge, question-answer, and farewell-farewell. The
various pairs appeared based on the topics of the conversation. Teacher on data A
provided most various adjacency pairs of all data. Adjacency pairs indicated the
flow of the turns from all of the participants of the conversation. Mostly, the
participants of the conversation from the data could give positive responses of the
turn taking, so smooth turn of the conversation could be reached. There were
three sequences found in this research, they were pre sequence, insertion
sequence, and side sequence. The most various sequences appeared on data 3. It
indicated that the chance for all participants of the conversation on data 3 to talk
Journal of English Language and Pedagogy

and engage in conversation were was widely open. Walsh’s interactional features
were found in all data except the teacher’s interruptions feature. Most various
interactional features were found on data 2, they were: scaffolding, direct repair,
Content feedback, Extended Wait Time, Referential question, Display Question,
seeking clarification, Confirmation check, Extended learner’s turn, Teacher echo,
Teacher Interruption, Extended teacher’s turn, Turn Completion, and Form-
Focused Feedback. Content feedback was the most frequently appeared feature in
all data. It indicated that the quality of the talk in data 3 was good because by
giving content feedback to the students, teacher promoted a way to the students to
practice their language.
2. There were four factors that contributed to the pattern of interaction in the
classroom, they were turn taking, repair, overlaps an interruption, topic
management, teachers’ language. These factors played a big role of creating
smooth turns of the conversation.
3. There were some positive impacts on students’ contribution through classroom
interaction’s patterns. Students’ physical learning environment became well
organized, students could produce correct forms, students could promote their
oral fluency.

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