Getting Students to Do or Say Something: A Pragmatic Analysis of Teachers’ Directives in Classroom Discourse in a State University

Fina Felisa Lavalle-Alcudia


This qualitative study demonstrates the encoding of classroom directives and modifications by Bachelor in Secondary Education (BSED) English major student-teachers. It explores the linguistic choices and strategies used in “attempts to get students to do something” drawn from John Searle’s Speech Act theory. From transcriptions of video recordings, the turns that constitute directives were extracted and coded as regulative or instructional and direct or indirect using adapted speech acts categories and politeness structures from the Cross-Cultural Speech Acts Realization Project (CCSARP) of Blum-Kulka et al. The results reveal that regulative directives and indirect forms were predominantly used. Mitigation in “detour situations” was performed using politeness markers and tone of the voice. As ESL speakers, the studentteachers possessed a repertoire of linguistic devices used to achieve the goals of interaction. They exhibited control as a dominant teacher role by using regulative directives. It is recommended that they be given more training to enhance pragmatic awareness and improve grammatical competence.

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