Journal Article

Tellings of Remembrances ‘Touched off’ by Student Reports in Group Work in Undergraduate Writing Classes

Stefan Frazier

in Applied Linguistics

Volume 28, issue 2, pages 189-210
Published in print June 2007 | ISSN: 0142-6001
Published online April 2007 | e-ISSN: 1477-450X | DOI:
Tellings of Remembrances ‘Touched off’ by Student Reports in Group Work in Undergraduate Writing Classes

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  • Linguistics
  • Language Teaching Theory and Methods


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Instructors of college/university writing classes commonly ask their students to ‘share their ideas’ in groups. This paper aims to describe the sequential structures of a kind of talk typical to group work: students presenting ‘reports’ about early written drafts. Specifically, the data analysis in this paper looks at how a student's report ‘touches off’ another student's telling of a remembrance caused by the report, which in turn offers a complex analysis of the just-prior report, allowing the speaker to prove rather than merely claim an understanding of the report. Touched-off remembrances (TORs) are marked in other ways than just through talk: sometimes group members orient to them via understandings of the report-giver's gestures and other embodied features. Beyond their conversation-structural actions, TORs also work to allow students to demonstrate to each other their cultural literacies—that is, they afford the opportunity to attach a cultural understanding to what they have just heard. The study, which analyzes video data of naturally occurring interactions between students in writing classes, draws its theoretical basis from conversation-analytic literature on ‘second stories’ and on analytic approaches to the way talk, gesture, and other forms of embodiment produce action in the course of interaction.

Journal Article.  8002 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Linguistics ; Language Teaching Theory and Methods

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