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Volume 6 Number 1, Spring 2009, Pages 1-214   

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A Corpus Analysis of Pedagogical Monologues in a Content-based EFL Context

    He An E and Elizabeth Walker

A corpus approach was adopted as a methodological experiment in exploring the pedagogical monologues of two secondary teachers, teaching academic subjects through English in an EFL context. Through an analysis of word frequency and associated grammatical patterns, both instructional and regulative registers (Christie, 2000) were identified in the monologues, which indicated teachers followed a similar pedagogical direction, regardless of the subject matter, in formulating academic concepts. However, differences were found between the teachers in the ways they communicated the content to the classes and the ways they engaged students with the subject matter, regarding positioning of participants, and choices of independent and dependent clauses and verbs. This, we argue, resulted in two different learning environments. The corpus approach, while not unproblematic, enabled us to discern lexico-grammatical and discoursal patterns of the monologues by processing the data differently from labor-intensive line-by-line analysis of text in discourse analysis. The small-scale corpus approach provides a level of confidence that it can be applied to similar investigations on a larger scale. The findings help raise awareness of educators in bilingual classrooms of the workings of monologues in teacher-fronted subject teaching, and of different discourse orientations of two superficially similar semiotic events.

Keywords: corpus study, pedagogical monologues, secondary bilingual subject teaching