Speaking but not being heard: Two adolescents negotiate classroom talk about text

Kathleen A. Hinchman, Josephine Marsh

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


This article is a critical discourse analysis that explored how two students participated in classroom talk about written text. We analyzed field notes and transcripts from classroom videotapes and student interviews according to three dimensions, description, interpretation, and explanation, and with concern for three contexts, situational, institutional, and societal. The students participated in talk in complicated, devolving ways over 1 school year - ways that seemed tied to a variety of social constructions inside and outside the classroom. One participated in classroom talk about text with an assumption of expertise, only to lose credibility when his teacher expected richer interpretive insights. The other participated in such talk from an assumption of equality, yet no one listened to what she said until it diverged from the supportable, in which case they derided her. Our analysis suggests that we should be vigilant in our setup and monitoring of individuals' participation in classroom talk, about text and otherwise, looking to disrupt ways it is embedded with hurtful institutional and societal discourses. Such attention may help us to develop more equitable literacy pedagogy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)243-268
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Literacy Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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