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Is It Inevitable for Teachers to Talk More? Analysing Classroom Interaction using IRF in CFL Classroom

LI, Hui; LAM, Sin Manw / December 2022 / Issue No.12 /


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Classroom interaction promotes students’ language acquisition and plays a vital role in classroom teaching. Yet, an excessive amount of teacher talk in classroom interaction has always been a concern. Inspired by Tsui’s (1995) Seventeen-Category System, this study investigated the classroom discourse and triadic dialogue (IRF pattern) of Chinese as a foreign language (CFL) classrooms in England. It aims to examine how the teachers employed the IRF pattern to construct or reduce students’ language learning and use of target language in CFL classrooms. Three Year 10 lessons were observed in a secondary school in England, with the student’s language proficiency at the lower intermediate level. The findings revealed that the language teacher dominated the initiation and types of interactions, and the student’s responses were mechanical and repetitive. Thus, the learning opportunities for the students to use the target language were highly restricted. In addition, classroom interaction is dependent on the content and the teacher’s choice of language. The study raised concern about revisiting the use of the target language in Chinese Mandarin classrooms as well as increasing the awareness of the teacher in terms of using various types of questions to increase learning opportunities.


Chinese as a foreign language classroom interaction IRF pattern target language


International Journal of Chinese Language Education; Dec 2022; Issue No. 12; p.99 - 126


Department of Chinese Language Studies, The Education University of Hong Kong
Chinese Language Program, Columbia University
Chung Hwa Book Co. (H.K.) Ltd.




2520-7733 (Print); 2521-4241 (Online)

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