Gesture, gaze and laughter

Teacher conduct facilitating whole-class discussions among students


  • Annerose Willemsen
  • Myrte Gosen
  • Tom Koole
  • Kees de Glopper



Classroom interaction, whole-class discussions,, teacher conduct, conversation analysis, discussion framework


This article analyses teacher conduct around episodes of subsequent student contributions during whole-class discussions. We scrutinised the teachers’ facilitating role in these episodes by systematically analysing their verbal as well as bodily conduct before, during and after the episodes, unearthing the teacher behaviour leading to and maintaining the discussion and the conduct bringing the discussion to an end. Our analysis reveals a large repertoire of conduct and proves that the teachers, while often refraining from verbal contributions, nonetheless actively foster the discussion by bodily means such as gestures, gaze and even laughter.


Antaki, C. (2011). Six Kinds of Applied Conversation Analysis. In C. Antaki (Ed.), Applied Conversation Analysis (pp. 1–14).

Björk-Willén, P., & Cekaite, A. (2017, July). Multimodality and affectivity in adults’ storytelling for children. Paper presented at the 15th International Pragmatics Conference (IPrA2017), Belfast.

Cazden, C. B. (1988). Classroom discourse: The language of teaching and learning (1st ed.). Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann educational books, inc.

Damhuis, R., De Blauw, A., & Brandenbarg, N. (2004). CombiList, een instrument voor taalontwikkeling via interactie: praktische vaardigheden voor leidsters en leerkrachten. Nijmegen: Expertisecentrum Nederlands.

Fasel Lauzon, V., & Berger, E. (2015). The multimodal organization of speaker selection in classroom interaction. Linguistics and Education, 31, 14–29.

Glenn, P. (2003). Laughter in Interaction. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Goffman, E. (1981a). Footing. In Forms of talk (pp. 124–159). Oxford: Basil Blackwell Publisher.

Goffman, E. (1981b). Response cries. In Forms of talk (pp. 78–123). Oxford: Basil Blackwell Publisher.

Goodwin, C. (1981). Conversational Organization: Interaction Between Speakers and Hearers. New York: Academic Press, Inc.

Goodwin, C., & Goodwin, M. H. (2004). Participation. In A. Duranti (Ed.), A Companion to Linguistic Anthropology (pp. 222–244). Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

Goodwin, M. H. (1980). Processes of mutual monitoring implicated in the production of description sequences. Sociological Inquiry, 50(3–4), 303–317.

Gosen, M. N., Berenst, J., & De Glopper, K. (2009). Participeren tijdens het voorlezen van prentenboeken in de kleuterklas: Een pilot-study. Toegepaste Taalwetenschap in Artikelen, 81, 53–63.

Gosen, M. N., Berenst, J., & De Glopper, K. (2015). Shared reading at kindergarten: Understanding book content through participation. Pragmatics and Society, 6(3), 367–397.

Haldimann, N., Hauser, S., & Nell-Tuor, N. (2017). Aspekte multimodaler Unterrichtskommunikation am Beispiel des Klassenrats – Partizipationsformen und ihre medialen und räumlichen Ausprägungen., (1), 1–17.

Heath, C. (1984). Talk and recipiency: sequential organization in speech and body movement. In J. M. Atkinson & J. Heritage (Eds.), Structures of Social Action (pp. 247–265). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Heritage, J. (2010). Questioning in medicine. In A. Freed & S. Ehrlich (Eds.), Why Do You Ask?: The function of questions in institutional discourse.

Hoey, E. M. (2018). Drinking for speaking: The multimodal organization of drinking in conversation. Social Interaction. Video-Based Studies of Human Sociality, 1(1).

Jefferson, G. (1984). Notes on a systematic deployment of the acknowledgement tokens “Yeah”; and “Mm Hm”; Paper in Linguistics, 17(2), 197–216.

Jefferson, G. (1986). Notes on ‘latency’ in overlap onset. Human Studies, 9, 153–183.

Kendon, A. (1967). Some functions of gaze-direction in social interaction. Acta Psychologica, 26(1), 22–63.

Kendon, A. (2004). Two gesture families of the open hand. In Gesture: Visible Action as Utterance (pp. 248–283).

Koole, T., & Berenst, J. (2008). Pupil participation in plenary interaction. In J. Deen, M. Hajer, & T. Koole (Eds.), Interaction in two multicultural mathematics classrooms: Mechanisms of inclusion and exclusion (pp. 107–139). Amsterdam: Aksant Academic Publishers.

Mazeland, H. (1983). Sprecherwechsel in der Schule. In K. Ehlich & J. Rehbein (Eds.), Kommunikation in Schule und Hochschule: Linguistische und ethnomethodologische Analysen (pp. 77–101). Tübingen: Gunter Narr Verlag.

McHoul, A. (1978). The organization of turns at formal talk in the classroom. Language in Society, 7(2), 183–213.

Mehan, H. (1979a). Learning lessons: Social organization in the classroom. Cambridge; Massachusetts; London: Harvard University Press.

Mehan, H. (1979b). ‘What time is it, Denise?’: Asking known information questions in classroom discourse. Theory Into Practice, 18(4), 285–294.

Mercer, N. (1995). The Guided Construction of Knowledge: Talk Amongst Teachers and Learners. Multilingual Matters.

Mondada, L. (2016, July). Conventions for multimodal transcription. Retrieved from

Mortensen, K. (2008). Selecting next speaker in the second language classroom: How to find a willing next speaker in planned activities. Journal of Applied Linguistics, 5(1), 55–79.

Müller, C. (2004). Forms and functions of the Palm Up Open Hand: A case of gesture family? In C. Müller & R. Posner (Eds.), The semantics and pragmatics of everyday gestures (pp. 233–256). Berlin: Weidler.

Myhill, D. (2006). Talk, talk, talk: Teaching and learning in whole class discourse. Research Papers in Education, 21(1), 19–41.

Nystrand, M. (1997). Dialogic instruction: When recitation becomes conversation. In M. Nystrand, Opening dialogue: Understanding the dynamics of language and learning in the English classroom. (pp. 1–29). New York/London: Teachers College Press.

Raymond, C. W., & Stivers, T. (2016). The omnirelevance of accountability: Off-record account sollicitations. In J. D. Robinson (Ed.), Accountability in Social Interaction (pp. 321–353). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Sahlström, F. (2001). The interactional organization of hand raising in classroom interaction. Journal of Classroom Interaction, 37(2), 47–57.

Sinclair, J. M., & Coulthard, M. (1975). Towards an analysis of discourse: The English used by teachers and pupils. London: Oxford University Press.

Soter, A. O., Wilkinson, I. A., Murphy, P. K., Rudge, L., Reninger, K., & Edwards, M. N. (2008). What the discourse tells us: Talk and indicators of high-level comprehension. International Journal of Educational Research, 47(6), 372–391.

Van der Veen, C., Van Kruistum, C., & Michaels, S. (2015). Productive Classroom Dialogue as an Activity of Shared Thinking and Communicating: A Commentary on Marsal. Mind, Culture, and Activity, 22(4), 320–325.

Van Leeuwen, A., & Janssen, J. (2019). A systematic review of teacher guidance during collaborative learning in primary and secondary education. Educational Research Review, 27, 71–89.

Willemsen, A., Gosen, M. N., Koole, T., & De Glopper, K. (2019a). Asking for more: Teachers’ invitations for elaboration in whole-class discussions. Manuscript Submitted for Publication.

Willemsen, A., Gosen, M. N., Koole, T., & De Glopper, K. (2019b). Teachers’ pass-on practices in whole-class discussions: how teachers return the floor to their students. Classroom Discourse, 1–19.

Willemsen, A., Gosen, M. N., Van Braak, M., Koole, T., & De Glopper, K. (2018). Teachers’ open invitations in whole-class discussions. Linguistics and Education, 45, 40–49.




How to Cite

Willemsen, A., Gosen, M., Koole, T., & de Glopper, K. (2020). Gesture, gaze and laughter: Teacher conduct facilitating whole-class discussions among students. Social Interaction. Video-Based Studies of Human Sociality, 2(2).