Using State Space Grids to analyze the dynamics of teacher-student interactions in foreign language classrooms

Smit, N., de Bot, C. & van de Grift, W., 10-Apr-2016.

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperAcademic

Many scholars have stressed the importance of the role of interaction in the language learning process (Kramsch, 1986; Van Lier, 1996; Ellis, 2000; Walsh, 2011). However, studies on classroom interaction between foreign language (FL) teachers and a group of FL learners are rare, because they are multifaceted and complex. Few techniques or observation systems are able to track the development of student-teacher interactions over time. A potentially powerful tool for researching time series is the State Space Grid technique (Lewis, Lamey & Douglas, 1999 & Hollenstein, 2007). A State Space Grid is a two-dimensional representation of a dynamic system, in which the cells represent all possible states of a system. State Space Grids are suitable for visualizing the dynamic system, and analyzing measures such as cell range, dispersion, cell visits, cell transitions and duration. The present study sets out to explore if and how sequential teacher-group interactions develop dynamically over time, and to reveal successful or unsuccessful verbal teacher scaffolding. We used teacher questions in relation to FL learner utterances as our unit of analysis, and applied the State Space Grid technique to study these two dimensions together. Coding categories for the system dimensions include teacher clarification, elicitation, elaboration, referential questions and display questions (Lyster, 2007, Dalton-Puffer, 2007) in relation to length and quality of FL learner responses. We analyzed video data from five different naturalistic Dutch secondary EFL classrooms. We will present some preliminary results and outline practical applications of the State-Space Grid for teacher education purposes.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 10-Apr-2016
EventAAAL - American Association of Applied Linguistics: 2016 Annual Conference - Hilton Hotel, Orlando, United States
Duration: 9-Apr-201612-Apr-2016


ConferenceAAAL - American Association of Applied Linguistics
Abbreviated titleAAAL
CountryUnited States
Internet address


AAAL - American Association of Applied Linguistics: 2016 Annual Conference


Orlando, United States

Event: Conference

ID: 39776890