Interactional Patterns of Linguistically Diverse Students and Teachers: Insights for Promoting Science Learning

Okhee Lee, Sandra H. Fradd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Research on teacher-student interactions suggests that culturally congruent communication patterns are important in promoting student participation and engagement. Building on research on cultural congruence, studies of instructional conversations, or guided interactions designed to promote academic engagement, have revealed the importance of both teachers' and students' contributions to the teaching-learning process. Neither studies of cultural congruence nor instructional conversations, however, has focused on the specific requirements of subject areas, such as science, in the communication process. To understand interactional patterns among diverse groups, this study involved teachers and students from three language groups: bilingual Spanish, bilingual Haitian Creole, and monolingual English. The study focused on the patterns of discourse and task engagement, as student dyads and teachers of the same language and culture communicated during three science tasks. Results indicated consistent interactional patterns within each language group but distinct differences among the three groups. The results are discussed with regard to the potential of instructional congruence in science learning with linguistically diverse students.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)269-297
Number of pages29
JournalLinguistics and Education
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1996

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


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