Teachers' open invitations in whole-class discussions

Annerose Willemsen, Myrte Naomi Gosen, Marije van Braak, Tom Koole, K. de Glopper

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This article takes a conversation analytic approach to the often employed notions of ‘open-ended or authentic questions’ in classroom interaction. We analyzed the, as we called them, open invitations teachers utter after reading a piece of text during whole-class discussions in 4 Dutch upper primary school classes, of which 2 were followed for a longer period of time. Our data show that these invitations vary in openness. We found 4 different types: 1) invitations projecting (a series of) objectively true or false answers, 2) invitations projecting specific response types, 3) invitations that have a restricted referent but do not project specific response types, and 4) topic soliciting invitations giving room to various contributions. Virtually all invitations resulted in fitted responses. The subsequent interactions following the less open invitations typically resulted in series of parallel responses, whereas the more open invitations typically yielded discussions or the collaborative answering of clarification questions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-49
Number of pages10
JournalLinguistics and Education
Publication statusPublished - Jun-2018


  • classroom interaction
  • whole-class discussions
  • authentic questions
  • open invitations
  • conversation analysis
  • TALK

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