September 12, 2019

New Publication Alert!

Investigating Instructor Talk in Novel Contexts: Widespread Use, Unexpected Categories, and an Emergent Sampling Strategy


Instructor Talk—noncontent language used by instructors in classrooms—is a recently defined and promising variable for better understanding classroom dynamics. Having previously characterized the Instructor Talk framework within the context of a single course, we present here our results surrounding the applicability of the Instructor Talk framework to noncontent language used by instructors in novel course contexts. We analyzed Instructor Talk in eight additional biology courses in their entirety and in 61 biology courses using an emergent sampling strategy. We observed widespread use of Instructor Talk with variation in the amount and category type used. The vast majority of Instructor Talk could be characterized using the originally published Instructor Talk framework, suggesting the robustness of this framework. Additionally, a new form of Instructor Talk—Negatively Phrased Instructor Talk, language that may discourage students or distract from the learning process—was detected in these novel course contexts. Finally, the emergent sampling strategy described here may allow investigation of Instructor Talk in even larger numbers of courses across institutions and disciplines. Given its widespread use, potential influence on students in learning environments, and ability to be sampled, Instructor Talk may be a key variable to consider in future research on teaching and learning in higher education.

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