Appraising Iranian L2 Classroom Discourse Contents From the Critical Pedagogy Perspective

Document Type : Research Article


1 Shahrekord University

2 Iran Language Institute


Critical pedagogy (CP) empowers L2 learners to have a voice in the classroom and in
the society. This study was an attempt to investigate whether the current classroom
discourse  in  Iran  can  endow  the  L2  learners with  a  critical  awareness  to  actively
transform their learning processes and creatively engage in collaborative dialogues to
construct new knowledge. To this end, the discourse contents of 10 L2 classrooms in
Shahrekord,  Iran,  were  randomly  observed,  recorded,  and  examined  to  explore
whether the turn-taking architecture was designed in a dialogical way to empower the
L2  learners with critical awareness  to  transform  their  roles of passive  learners  into
critical thinkers and coparticipants. Chi-squares were, then, run on the transcribed and
coded data related to the occurrence and distribution of the initiation, elicitation, and
follow-up moves,  and  a  complementary  interpretive  approach was  adopted  to  the
analysis of classroom  interactional episodes. The  results  indicated  that  the  teachers
were  the  initiators of most  exchanges  in  the  classrooms,  and  their  initiations were
mostly in the form of display (i.e., product) questions. The teachers predetermined the
contents of the L2 learners’ turns, leaving no space for the L2 learners to have their
own voices. Therefore,  the L2  learners’  roles were  restricted  to giving preselected,
short answers. The teachers did not use their follow-up moves to encourage critical
talk, dialogue, or collaboration among the L2 learners in class. It is finally argued that
a  critical,  transformative  approach  to  L2  pedagogy  and  classroom  discourse  de-
silences  the  L2  learners  and  empowers  them  to  constantly  reflect  upon  their
knowledge-construction and learning experiences.