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Title: An investigation into the co-construction of language classroom cultures
Author: Sandhu, P. K.
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 2002
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This is an ethnographically influenced and interpretive study into the ways teachers and students co-construct language classroom culture. Classroom culture is viewed as comprising the everyday discoursal practices and actions of teachers and students. These cultural practices on the one hand represent and reflect the micro culture of the classroom, and on the other construct, sustain and develop this culture. Data is drawn from two multilingual and multicultural secondary one classrooms in Singapore, both in the same school.  These classrooms were selected because of their student composition:  one is made up of supposedly more competent language learners than the other. This lends to the study a comparative dimension where data from one classroom is matched against data from the other, allowing for an exploration of similarities and differences which facilitate data interpretation and analysis. Research findings indicate that both micro cultures share similar cultural traits, and that these traits mirror the macro aspects of the classroom, i.e. the culture of the general education system and the broader national culture in Singapore. More interesting and unexpected however, are findings that point at the striking differences between these micro cultures. Although teachers and students co-construct the culture in both classrooms, it appears that these cultural differences are attributable to the different roles played by the teachers in their attention to classroom procedure, and to classroom management. These teacher differences are manifested in their delivery of procedural instructions, which in one class encourage student questions, and in the other deter them. In exploring the relationship between classroom discourse and the evolving classroom culture, this study captures an insider’s view of the co-construction of two different micro cultures. In one class, the classroom culture promotes academic success, and in the other, it promotes academic failure. Conclusions are drawn for further research into classroom culture in general and student questioning behaviour in particular. Recommendations are made for the pre-service teacher training which aim at improving the ways in which the education system in Singapore serves society.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available