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“I’m going to split you all up”: Examining transitions to group/pair work in two primary English classrooms
lesson transitions
group or pair work
small group learning
primary English classrooms
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Lwin, S. M., Goh, C. C. M., & Doyle, P. (2011). “I’m going to split you all up”: Examining transitions to group/pair work in two primary English classrooms. Language and Education, 26(1), 19-33.
Lesson transitions are important units for analysis not only for establishing the presence of group/pair work but also for examining the contextual conditions for small group learning. Scholars have suggested that the ‘open’ or ‘closed’ contextual conditions set up through the teacher’s use of language to introduce group/pair work influence the quality of pupil’s talk and interthinking, i.e. the use of language for thinking together and collectively solving problems (Mercer 2000; Corden 2000). The nature of transition, however, has not been fully characterized in the research literature for us to understand what these conditions are. In this paper, we present the findings from an analysis of teachers’ discourse when the teachers introduced their pupils to group/pair work in two Primary English classrooms in Singapore. Our analysis shows the extended and recursive nature of lesson transitions in these classrooms, as well as how the two teachers orchestrated conditions of entry into group/pair work and how the pupils were (un)successfully inducted into such tasks. These preliminary findings about transitions can have pedagogical implications for the ways teachers can create conditions that will support learning when they introduce group/pair work to their pupils.
This is the final draft, after peer-review, of a manuscript published in Language and Education. The published version is available online at
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