4.4.1. The Classification of Discussion Styles

Is the classification of pupils' behaviour in class discussion as competitive, co-operative, or non-co-operative, feasible?

To a degree, it proved to be feasible to classify facets of pupils' behaviour in classroom discussion as competitive, co-operative, or non-co-operative, although speakers rarely used only one style. The speakers in Group VII were co-operative towards one another throughout the discussion, but B5 in Group III was the only speaker in the sample to use almost solely competitive features. Some speakers behaved co-operatively towards certain group members and competitively towards others, such as the girls in Group I, who treated each other with varying degrees of co-operativeness, but used competitive behaviour towards B1. Other speakers mixed co-operative, competitive, and non-co- operative features, in their behaviour towards a single addressee, such as G10 towards G9 in Group V.

The model does not therefore map straightforwardly onto pupils' behaviour in discussion groups. Nevertheless, there were correlations between groups of features, co-operative, non-co- operative or competitive, suggesting that the model is appropriate to a degree in describing pupils' behaviour in discussions. It can also usefully draw attention to some aspects of discussions such as floor distribution and ways of negotiating conflict. Therefore, although the model may not be able to describe completely someone's behaviour in a discussion, it can still help as a way to think about aspects of their behaviour.


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