Distribution of turns

There was a question in the session on Friday about the degree to which some students dominated the discussion. Here’s a table from the presentation with more detail added. In both groups we can see there’s an uneven distribution of turns, with some students in both groups playing very little part in the discussions.

Distribution of turns, by itself, doesn’t give enough information to evaluate the quality of discussion. That’s why I did a more detailed analysis of a ten minute section of the transcript from session 3. It looks from the table as if S2 is dominating the discussion. However, analysing the speech functions showed that the majority of utterances by S1 were declarative and imperative – usually supplying content – S2 was mostly acknowledging, agreeing or asking for clarification. That said, as was shown by the extract in the presentation, S2 also corrected errors and supplied content, so the roles are not as clear cut as speech functions alone would suggest.

Session 1 [27 mins writing] Session 3 [54 mins writing]
# of turns per S %  [turns per min] # of turns per S %  [turns per min]
S1 = 70 47%  [2.6] S1 = 175 36%  [3.2]
S2 = 52 35%  [1.9] S2 = 193 40%  [3.6]
S3 = 27 18%  [1] S3 = 102 21%  [1.9]
S4 = 14 3%  [0.3]
Total = 149 [5.5 turns per min] Total = 484 [9.0 turns per min]

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