Teacher Talk in General and Special Education Classrooms That Included Children with Problem Behavior
Hollo, Alexandra Elizabeth
Teachers’ oral language use may be an important factor in student performance, particularly for students with problem behavior and low language skills. To determine whether teachers use features of language that may impede comprehension, this study examined teacher talk in 28 K-4 classrooms that included students with or at risk for emotional and behavioral disorders (EBD). Researchers transcribed and coded three 10-min audiotapes recorded during whole-group instruction by 14 special education and 14 general education teachers matched on gender and grade. Outcome variables included indices of form and content. Results indicated that on average, the structure (quantity, complexity) and clarity of teacher talk remained stable across lessons of varying content, regardless of setting (general or special education classrooms, K-2 or 3-4 grade levels), or teachers’ years of classroom experience. Further, 74% of teacher utterances contained vagueness markers that may hinder student comprehension.