The discourse of postgraduate seminars

De Klerk, V.A. (1995) The discourse of postgraduate seminars. Linguistics and Education, 7 (3). pp. 157-174. ISSN 0898-5898



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Video recordings of a range of postgraduate seminars in the Arts Faculty at a South African university were made and analyzed, in order to define the current nature of this particular form of educational practice in South African tertiary institutions. Recent demographic changes in formerly White universities are having a significant effect on the nature of interaction in formal discussion groups. Despite a common perception that at a tertiary level tutors and students are equally entitled to speak and all contributions equally valued, this article reveals that postgraduate seminars are sites of competition for the floor and that there are significant imbalances in participation by different groups in this competitive speaking environment; it is further argued that these imbalances reflect different (culture- and gender-specific) assumptions about what constitutes appropriate participation and also, to some degree, previous learned discourse patterns associated with schooling experience.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:discourse patterns ; formal discussion groups; postgraduate seminars; tertiary institutions; South Africa
Subjects:Y Unknown > Subjects to be assigned
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Humanities > English Language and Linguistics
ID Code:450
Deposited On:02 Nov 2006
Last Modified:06 Jan 2012 16:18
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