Approaches to Classroom Discourse Analysis

A Multimodal Approach to Classroom Discourse - Kay L. O'Halloran

Kay O'Halloran [+-]
National University of Singapore
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Kay O’Halloran is Assistant Professor in the Department of English Language and Literature at the National University of Singapore. She teaches and completes research in the fields of systemic functional linguistics (SFL), multimodality, mathematics and scientific discourse, and mathematics education. She has also developed commercial software for linguistic analysis of text.


The book develops a new multimodal approach to classroom discourse where meanings arising from multiple forms of semiosis are considered. The approach is demonstrated through the analysis of discourse in mathematics classrooms. The approach includes a description of the curriculum, lesson genres and activity sequences, together with an analysis of the use of spoken and written language, mathematical symbolism and visual images in the classroom. The functions of the different forms of semiosis and the nature of intersemiotic transitions from verbal to written modes are described. The metaphorical nature of mathematics pedagogical discourse is demonstrated. In addition, the significance of the material reality of the classroom (for example, the architecture, layout and the use of space) and the functions of the body (for example, gaze, stance and proxemics) for the teaching and learning of mathematics are considered. The theoretical framework is demonstrated through discourse analysis of mathematics lessons which are differentiated according to social class, gender and school type. The analyses of the classroom practices in each lesson are contextualized with respect to the results the students achieve in the mathematics examinations for admission to university. These findings are related to educational policy and the funding and support for the public/private schools sectors. Finally, the implications of a multimodal approach to discourse analysis for teaching and learning mathematics are summarized. The multimodal approach to pedagogy developed in this book is applicable to other curriculum areas.

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O'Halloran, Kay . Approaches to Classroom Discourse Analysis. A Multimodal Approach to Classroom Discourse. Equinox eBooks Publishing, United Kingdom. Dec 2025. ISBN 9781845530631. Date accessed: 25 Jun 2024 doi: 10.1558/equinox.24836. Dec 2025

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