4.3.7 Interruption and Overlap

Interruptions are not frequent in the data except in Group III, where B5 interrupts to a considerable extent, and other speakers also interrupt him, in order to be able to speak at all. Otherwise only occasional interruptions occur - G2 interrupts B1 in Group I; G8 interrupts G7 in Group IV; G10 interrupts G9 in Group V. Interruptions are not explicitly named as behaviour to be penalised by the GRC, but it is specified that pupils should 'allow/ encourage others to have their say'. The pupils interviewed and cited in Chapter Two gave one of their criteria for participating well in a discussion as 'don't interrupt'.

From this sample, it seems rare that pupils, boys or girls, do actually interrupt each other intentionally.

Overlapping speech occurs very frequently in some discussions, and not at all in others. Groups in which it occurs most frequently are I, IV, and VII, between girls in each case. Boys do not appear to use this form to anything like the same extent as girls from this data, and neither does it occur in the more competitive or non-co- operative discussions ( Groups III, V, and VI).

This seems to be an important feature about which to raise awareness, as some of the teachers cited in Chapter Five who viewed the film of Group VII's discussion, perceived G14 as interrupting the other speakers. G14's turns were treated within the discussion as supporting other speakers, not violating the rights of others to the floor, and this would be a very important distinction to make when assessing.


Back to Chapter 4 Main Page