By Helen Sauntson
Gender is a hotly debated subject within the box of schooling. The position that language performs in academic contexts in particular within the lecture room has lengthy been stated. Innovatively combining techniques within the research of school room discourse this book offers wealthy empirical findings in addition to being theoretically fascinating and necessary.
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Extra resources for Approaches to Gender and Spoken Classroom Discourse
I am also interested in contrasting methods which are traditionally viewed as falling within a broadly ‘structuralist’ paradigm with those which are more ‘post-structural’ in their orientation. In other words, I want to address the challenge of seeing if and how it is possible to combine approaches to analysis which are seen to embody particular theoretical and methodological tensions and contradictions. In the remainder of this chapter, and throughout the rest of the book, I consider whether there are ways of resolving some of the underlying epistemological tensions between approaches to see if they can be used in complementary ways, even if this is just in a temporary and localised way.
Sunderland and Litosseliti contrast studies of gender difference with more recent ‘discourse approaches’ to gender and language which incorporate a consideration of the agency of the subject and of gender identities as potentially ﬂuid, multiple and contextualised. However, despite the criticisms of variationist and comparative approaches, and the general shift in recent years towards more discourse-based approaches, some researchers continue to emphasise the value of approaches which take more of a quantitative approach and are informed by more ‘structuralist’ methods of analysis.
In classroom discourse analysis, the focus is more on how things are said and what that can reveal about the interactional and ideological processes at work in the context under scrutiny. A further reason for shifting the subject focus of the research away from English towards another quite different discipline was simply because there is still a lack of research on classroom discourse which focuses on subjects other than English. Design and Technology is one such subject. Within the school’s Technology department, the curriculum is organised so that all students in Key Stage 3 (11–14 age range) study a variety of different disciplines within the broad subject area of Design and Technology.