Patterns of Politeness in Teacher-Student Interaction: Investigating an Academic Context

Authors

1 Associate Professor of Applied Linguistics, Fasa Branch, Islamic Azad University, Iran.

2 PhD Candidate of TEFL, Torbat-e-Heydarieh-Branch, Islamic Azad University, Iran.

Abstract

Patterns of Politeness in Teacher-Student Interaction: Investigating an Academic Context
Abstract
This study investigated politeness strategies used in instructor-student relationships, in an academic environment. To conduct the study, four university classes with different instructors were randomly selected, observed and analyzed. Brown and Levinson’s theory of politeness was drawn on as the analytic model guiding the study, which focused on face-threatening and face-saving acts. After observing the classes and gathering the data through four classroom observations, it was found that the instructors produced face-threatening utterances less frequently than face-saving utterances. In the case of face-saving acts, they used various strategies to make students feel more comfortable in the classroom. The findings implied that instructors should be aware of using threatening utterances that could negatively affect students’ self-esteem. It also suggested that applying politeness strategies in the classroom could lead to a better relationship between students and instructors.
Keywords: Brown and Levinson’s politeness theory, teacher-student interaction, face-threatening acts, face-saving acts

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Main Subjects