A critical examination of men's and women's discourse practices in directive-response speech sequences (DRSS) : evidence from teacher- student interactions during groupwork in two secondary schools in KwaZulu-Natal.
This dissertation presents a critical examination of men's and women's discourse practices in directive-response speech sequences (DRSS), on the basis of data obtained from teacher-student interactions during groupwork in two secondary schools in Kwa-Zulu Natal. Following West (1990), the broad purpose of this study is to explore the similarities and the differences in the DRSS between educators of different gender and their students. Drawing on critical discourse analysis, particularly the work of Fairclough (1989,1992,1995), this study then critically examines the social relations of power implicit in these instances of discourse. The findings of this study indicate that both similarities and differences exist in male and female educators' linguistic choices for issuing directives. There is some evidence that female educators made more attempts than male educators to reduce asymmetrical relations of power in their directive choices. However, the critical discourse analysis revealed that the linguistic choices of all educators in my study were mostly informed by the language functions they wished to perform at a particular stage of their lesson. I conclude that it is crucial that educators, both male and female, make more effort to employ discourse practices (especially during groupwork) that are more democratic rather than those that emphasise asymmetrical relations.