From Classrooms to Societies: A Case in Taiwan

Tien, Ching-Yi

I-Shou University, Taiwan


The perceptions of education held by most parents and teachers in Taiwan is deeply influenced by the Chinese traditional philosophy that through education, people become knowledgeable and well-trained and are thereby useful to society. The definition of a ‘good learner’, also influenced by Confucianism, is that good students listen quietly in class and do whatever the instructor demands. Fewer questions are asked by students in classroom interaction, and the teacher-student relationship is perhaps more formal than that of other cultures. This paper investigates three English language classes in primary schools in southern Taiwan by analysing transcripts of audio/video data and field notes collected from three classroom contexts: urban, suburban and rural. The study will explore how teachers and students engage in discourse by applying the IRE (initiate, response, and feedback) model to analyze their interactions and interpreting teachers and students’ intentions. More specifically, this study focuses on how the classroom talks relate to the societies they live in. Implications and suggestions for bridging the gap between urban and suburban differences are made based on the findings of the data analysis.

Session: Paper session
Gender / Discourse
Friday, April 4, 2008, 10:30-12:00
room: 16