Teaching and learning as social interaction: Salience and relevance in classroom lesson practices

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review


Teaching and learning is intrinsically a social practice. By drawing on social theory, specifically the theory of practice architectures as a conceptual framework, the chapter inquires into the enduring question about the social happeningness of what goes on in classrooms (Heap 1985); and in particular, what happens in the moment-by-moment unfolding of lessons as teachers and learners encounter one another as interlocutors in the particular intersubjective spaces they co-create in lessons. The chapter utilises two distinct but intersecting approaches to this question, one from the study of the practice architectures that shape classroom practice and the other from the sociological analysis of naturally occurring interactions as they occur in lessons. These two approaches for understanding practices in situ are brought together to reveal the resources used in the moments of teaching and makes visible the trace the detailed linguistic, activity, and relational formulations (or cultural -discursive , material -economic and social-political arrangements) leave through the threads displayed in the participants’ orientations (after Wetherall 1998). It is argued that what shapes naturally occurring talk-in-interaction (Sacks et al. 1974) in classrooms are practice architectures evident in the practices found at the site. It considers that, in the end, however, what counts as relevant in classroom practice as it is experienced in-the-moment by teachers and students can only be revealed through fine-grained analysis of their interactions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationPractice theory perspectives on pedagogy and education
Subtitle of host publicationPraxis, diversity and contestation
EditorsPeter Grootenboer, Christine Edwards-Groves, Sarojni Choy
Place of PublicationSingapore
Number of pages23
ISBN (Electronic)9789811031304
ISBN (Print)9789811031281
Publication statusPublished - 2017


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