WP116 Breaking classroom silences in London and Nicosia.

Rampton & Charalambous


Just like silences themselves, breaking silence can be good or bad, but how do you decide? That is obviously not an exclusively academic question, but the answer is going to be influenced by how a rupture is actually analysed, and this paper proposes linguistic ethnography as a way of unpacking the layered processes and systems colliding in the breach. Focusing first on a Turkish language class in a Greek-Cypriot secondary school and then on some talk about Standard English in an inner London comprehensive, the paper concentrates on episodes in which someone raises critical questions about types of division and stratification that are normally taken for granted. The details of linguistic form, individual positioning, local institutional history and developments in national education policy all count in these classroom dynamics, and the paper concludes by reviewing the value of using this kind of data and analysis in professional development sessions with teachers.