By adopting conversation analysis, this study examines how action formation and understanding displays construct a socially inept and humorous character in the TV sitcom, The Office. The analysis revealed two recurrent patterns in the main character’s interactions—improper action formation and insufficient understanding displays. Specifically, the findings showed that the main character, Michael, was construed as one that is unaware of his uncanny actions and unable to understand the interlocuter’s inferential and sarcastic remarks. The inserted interview scenes also highlighted that a conversational norm has been violated and contribute to the characterization of Michael as a quirky, socially incompetent worker. As a result, the collective sender is not only able to establish common ground with the audience but also dramatize the humorous potential of the episode. These analytic findings demonstrate that CA can be a rigorous tool for revealing the specific interactional devices that are exploited by scriptwriters to configure characters and infuse comical elements into TV sitcoms.
Much attention has been devoted to Extensive Reading (ER) to better understand its pedagogical effects on language learners. In this study, we focus on the teaching principles of ER and call for a re-visitation of the Freedom principle (“Learners choose what they want to read”) that has been frequently used by practitioners and researchers of ER. Based on the focus group data collected from enthusiastic readers who participated in ER as a classroom activity and read beyond the designated class goal, we examined how these students chose what they wanted to read in an English-for-Academic-Purposes (EAP) context. The findings suggest that the Freedom principle, while allowing student autonomy, incurs complications in the implementation of ER. Students may experience frustration if given a limited choice of books, providing support for the Freedom principle. However, as students freely choose their books, the activities they engage in may become incompatible with other ER principles. Drawing on the focus group data, we will discuss the details of such complexities and conclude with pedagogical implications.
This paper investigates teacher belief as a social practice in a focus group setting with three second language teachers by utilizing a discursive psychology (DP) approach (Edwards, 1997; Edwards & Potter, 2005). By adopting an empirically based emic perspective (i.e., how the participants display their understandings through their own contributions), we aim to respecify individual psychological states as an embodied interactional activity and study what members achieve through their interaction, particularly in their disagreement and teasing sequences. The findings show how teacher belief is a socially co-constructed phenomenon that not only evolves through interaction but stands as a foundational concept upon which participants build and display their teacher competence within the focus group setting. We thereby provide a new methodological means of investigation and new methods to focus on when examining teacher belief, as well as to show the procedure of what members do in a teacher belief focus group session. We conclude by summarizing our findings and addressing some implications for further work on teacher belief.