Discourse Analysis and Understanding Educational Practice

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Course TypeCourse CodeNo. Of Credits
Foundation ElectiveSES3012032


Semester and Year Offered: Semester II

Course Coordinator and Team: Shivani Nag (C)

Email of course coordinator:

Pre-requisites: Pre-doctoral


  • To engage with the idea of discourse as having multidisciplinary roots and as located in a context of multi-voicedness, identities and power struggles.
  • To develop students’ knowledge of the main concepts, categories and frameworks relating to the analysis of written and spoken discourse;
  • To familiarise students with different approaches to discourse analysis and their theoretical underpinnings.
  • To facilitate use of one or more approaches to discourse analysis in the specific context of educational research.

Course Outcomes:

By the end of the course the participants will be able to:

  • demonstrate an understanding of the relationships between the social contexts of use and features of written and spoken texts;
  • identify and describe structural elements, textual patterns and organization of discourse;
  • discern multi-voicedness and multiple meaning of the written and spoken texts;
  • use discourse analysis as a tool to analyse educational policies and practices.

Brief description of modules/ Main modules:

Module 1: Introduction to the idea of ‘discourse’: Voices, identity, power, modalities:

The module will highlight that the purpose of language is not merely to share information but also to scaffold the performance of social activities and to scaffold human affiliations and positioning within culture that involves questions of voice, identity, contestations and power relationships. The module further engages with the question of: what is discourse? What is text? How to differentiate text from discourse?How to understand discourse analysis as a cultural practice and process?

Module 2: Text, Intertextuality and Transcription:

The module will engage students in various aspects of analysing and discerning meaning from the textual data. The readings in the module are focused on presenting what are the complexities involved in relating written and spoken language? What are the various processes and aspects of transcription? It further discussed features of written and spoken discourse to understand the linguistic construction of context, turn taking and conversational sequence.

Module 3: Discourse in classrooms, educational practices and policies:

The focus of the module will be on unpacking the opaqueness in educational practices (power, ideology and diversity), inquiring various metaphors of education, children, childhood, gender etc. The module will also make an attempt to decipher rhetoric and voices in the context of educational practices and policies.

Assessment Details with weights:

  • Transcription assignment (25%)
  • Reading a book/article together (25%)
  • Final project (50%): Developing a research proposal using discourse analysis and doing a pilot data collection and analysis.

Reading List:

  • Jaworski, A. &Coupland, N. (1999).Introduction (pp1-­44).The discourse reader.London: Routledge.
  • Fairclough, N. (2012). Critical Discourse Analysis (pp 9-20). Gee, J.P. &Handford, M. (Eds) The Routledge Handbook of Discourse Analysis. Oxford: Routledge.
  • Potter, J. (2012). Discursive Psychology and Discourse Analysis (pp 104-119). Gee, J.P. &Handford, M. (Eds) The Routledge Handbook of Discourse Analysis. Oxford: Routledge.
  • Gee, J. P. (1991). A linguistic approach to narrative.Journal of Narrative and Life History,1 (1), 15­-39.
  • Hymes, D. (1996). Narrative form as a grammar of experience: Native Americans and a glimpse of English.In Ethnography, linguistics, narrative inequality: Toward an understanding of voice (pp. 121­-141).London: Taylor & Francis.
  • Atkinson, J. M.& Heritage, J. (1999). Jefferson’s transcript notation (pp. 158-­166).The discourse reader.London: Routledge.
  • Mishler, E. (1991). Representing discourse: The rhetoric of transcription.Journal of Narrative and Life History 1 (4), 255­-280.
  • Ochs, E. (1999). Transcription as theory (pp. 167­-182).Jaworski, A. &Coupland, N. (Eds).The discourse reader. London: Routledge.
  • Gee, J. P. (1989). Two styles of narrative construction and their linguistic and educational implications. Discourse Processes 12, 287­-307.
  • Martin, J. R. (2002). Meaning beyond the clause: SFL perspectives.Annual Review of Applied Linguistics 22, 52­-74.
  • Rex, L. A., Murnen, T. J., Hobbs, J., McEachen, D. (2002). Teachers’pedagogical stories and the shaping of classroom participation: “The Dancer” and “Graveyard Shift at the 7­11.”American Educational Research Journal 39 (3), 765­796.
  • Cazden, C. (2001). Classroom discourse: The language of teaching and learning 2nd ed. New Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann (Chapter Four: Classroom Discourse and Student learning, pp 31-59)
  • Woodside­-Jiron, H. (2011). Language, power, and participation: Using critical discourse analysis to make sense of public policy (pp. 155-­172) Rogers (Ed.)Critical Discourse Analysis in Education.NewYork: Routledge.