Relationship between emotional climate and the fluency of classroom interactions
This study examined emotional climate in relation to the teaching and learning of grade 7 science. A multi-method and multi-theoretic approach used sociocultural frameworks as a foundation for interpretive research, conversation analysis, prosody analysis, and studies of nonverbal conduct. Emotional climate varied continuously throughout a lesson. Dialogues occurred and afforded learning when interactions between the teacher and students were fluent and included humour and collective effervescence. Emotional climate was negatively valenced when the teacher and/or students endeavoured to establish and maintain power by restricting others’ participation to spectator roles. The teacher’s endeavours to maintain and establish control over students were potentially detrimental to teaching and learning, teachers and learners. This type of teaching gradually evolved into a form we referred to as cranky teaching, whereby the teacher and her students showed signs of frustration and the enacted teaching and learning roles lacked fluency. The methods we pioneered in the present study might be helpful for other teachers who wish to participate in research on their classes to ascertain what works and should be strengthened, and identify practices and rituals that are deleterious and in need of change.