Tala om text. Om gymnasieelevers metaspråk i gruppsamtal

Sammanfattning: This thesis investigates the use of metalanguage and its relation to learning outcome in group discussions. Metalanguage is defined as a language about language, a way to talk about the features of a language using a specific vocabulary with great precision. It is suggested that metalanguage is necessary in order to develop the pupils' awareness when text analyses are carried out in school. The purpose of the study is to understand how pupils take on the task presented by the teacher, how they reach consensus, if and how they make use of some kind of metalanguage, and to what degree their discussions can be regarded as learning conversations. Twelve conversations in groups were recorded on video. The pupils were in the first or the final year of upper secondary school and they all attended either Natural Science Programme or Technology Programme. The conversations took place without the teacher being present. In three groups the conversation was observed by the researcher. The task was to talk about a phishing mail using questions provided by the teacher. The three observed conversations were transcribed following principles from Conversation Analysis, CA. The rest of the conversations were transcribed following a key close to written language in order to simplify the reading. Two analyses were carried out. First, the conversations were analysed regarding how to take on the task, interaction and use of metalanguage. Secondly, the structures of the conversations were analysed using concepts from systemic functional grammar. The results show that the conversations are symmetrical and co-operative and that the pupils are focused on solving the task. No metalanguage is used by the students; the discussions are performed using colloquial speech and dramatizations and referring to experiences. The absence of metalanguage is contrasted in effectiveness by the using of terms from the field of information technology. Using experiences from texts outside school proves to be a way of dealing with the task. However, experiences and results are not abstracted into scientific terms and no learning concerning language and text seems to take place. The using of concepts from systemic functional grammar shows that the pupils are mainly concerned with interpersonal aspects of the text, somewhat concerned with ideational aspects – especially logical – and to a less degree concerned with textual aspects. It is suggested that the lower degree of textual focus is related to the absence of metalanguage. It is also shown that the pupils discuss features of the text focusing on various strata of language. Although the pupils' frequent use of experiences from text encounters should be regarded as a great potential from a pedagogical point of view, the results indicate the need of a metalanguage to achieve precision and effectiveness in discussions about texts. Also, the need of instructions guiding the pupils to make use of metalanguage is indicated. The possibility of using concepts from systemic functional grammar is pointed out and further research is suggested.