Initiating Talks Used by the Teacher to Stimulate Verbal Responses from Students

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Praewpilas Rachomas
Wannapa Trakulkasemsuk


An important goal of language learning is to have students’ language production. In that case, teacher initiation can be significant in stimulating such interaction. The study explored types of initiating talk and how the teacher used each type to stimulate student talk. To do so, an English Communication class was observed and video recorded. The data were transcribed and analyzed to identify types and patterns of initiating talk using the framework of Mehan (1979), and Sinclair and Brazil (1982). The results revealed that the teacher normally used Questioning rather than Invitation and Direction and each led to different types of responses. In terms of patterns, they could be found when the teacher utilized more than one turn of initiating talk until responses from the students occurred. Utilizing one initiating talk to stimulate verbal responses was successful as responses from students were given. However, the proportion of brief responses was higher than informative ones. This led the study to further discuss factors affecting the ways students responded. Types of initiating talk used, amounts of teacher talk as well as students’ nature might be influential. Implications regarding when and how to use each initiating talk type were proposed with suggested interactive activities to encourage students’ communicative skills.


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Rachomas, P., & Trakulkasemsuk, W. (2014). Initiating Talks Used by the Teacher to Stimulate Verbal Responses from Students. REFLections, 18, 14–30. Retrieved from
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