A Linguistic Ethnography of Teacher Talk in an English for Medical Purposes Classroom


This study is a linguistic ethnographic investigation of the characteristics of teacher talk in an English for Medical Purposes (EMP) class at one of the medical colleges in the kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Teacher talk is an important element in classroom interaction and it has direct and indirect implications on the students’ learning. In classroom interaction, students and teachers are in a state of dynamic interactions. If not carried out tactfully, classroom interactions can affect learning process in several ways such as failure to engage in learning process and inappropriate teacher’s instructions. This study employed an eclectic qualitative methodology which incorporates principles of Linguistic Ethnography. Data generation took place in the entire Semester One of the academic years 2017/2018. The data in this study were obtained from 10 classroom observations. Informal chat with the teacher was carried out towards the end of each observation session to get further clarification of what had happened during the observation. The teacher talk was found to be dominant in classroom interactions. The teacher talk had high frequency of self-repetition and paraphrasing. The teacher accepted students’ ideas and avoided criticism. The teacher praised the students and offered both positive and negative feedback. This study concludes that teacher talk still serves as a useful source for classroom input despite the buzz of learner-centered approach which demands reduced teacher talk in the classroom.


Omar Ali Al-Smadi, Radzuwan Ab Rashid and Dheif Allah Hussain Altamimi


classroom discourse, discourse analysis, English for medical purposes