Formal Classroom Lessons New Perspectives on a Familiar Discourse Event Clinical Forum
Clinical Forum  |   July 01, 1997
Formal Classroom Lessons
 
Author Affiliations & Notes
  • Janet M. Sturm
    The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • Nickola Wolf Nelson
    Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo
  • Contact author: Janet Sturm, Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences, Department of Medical Allied Health Professions, The School of Medicine, CB# 7190 Wing D Medical School, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-2190.
    Contact author: Janet Sturm, Division of Speech and Hearing Sciences, Department of Medical Allied Health Professions, The School of Medicine, CB# 7190 Wing D Medical School, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599-2190.×
Article Information
School-Based Settings / Clinical Forum: The Context of Language in the Schools
Clinical Forum   |   July 01, 1997
Formal Classroom Lessons
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, July 1997, Vol. 28, 255-273. doi:10.1044/0161-1461.2803.255
History: Received February 9, 1995 , Accepted August 22, 1996
 
Language, Speech, and Hearing Services in Schools, July 1997, Vol. 28, 255-273. doi:10.1044/0161-1461.2803.255
History: Received February 9, 1995; Accepted August 22, 1996

Quantitative and qualitative methods were used to analyze the discourse expectations of formal classroom lessons in order to provide an informational base for curriculum-based language intervention. Samples of oral communication exchanges between general education teachers and their students in five classrooms each at first-, third-, and fifth-grade levels (15 total) were audiotaped. Grade level changes included significant increases in the syntactic complexity of teachers' language from third- to fifth-grade level, as well as findings that fifth-grade teachers conveyed content more frequently than first-grade teachers and that first-grade teachers called on students by name more often than either third- or fifth-grade teachers. Ten rules were generated from these discourse samples and from prior research to summarize the expectations that students must infer in order to participate successfully in formal lessons. Implications for students with communicative disorders are considered.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT
We gratefully acknowledge contributions by Michael J. Clark and James M. Hillenbrand, as well as suggestions by Bonnie Brinton, Judy Duchan, and Dana Kovarsky. The research in this report is based on a master’s thesis of the first author under the direction of the second with financial support from the Graduate Student Research Fund and the College of Health and Human Services of Western Michigan University.
Transcription and reliability measurements were provided by Andrea Behrn, Sherry Joines, Judy Rau, and Alison Walczak. Clinical examples were provided by Mary Beth Crowe, Jennifer Jankowski, and Mary Kimball, with the assistance of Adelia Van Meter, through the support of Project CONNECT, U.S. Department of Education Grant No. HO29B40183. Most importantly, we appreciate the individuals in four school districts who allowed us to eavesdrop in their classrooms.
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