Student engagement through personal pronouns in secondary school and university.

Ting, Su Hie and Jiin-Yih, Yeo and Collin, Jerome and Shanthi, Nadarajan and Meng-Yew, Tee and Moses, Samuel (2022) Student engagement through personal pronouns in secondary school and university. In: Multifunctionality in English: Corpora, language and academic literacy pedagogy. Routledge, Australia, pp. 96-113.

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Personal pronouns are a linguistic device that is used to engage students at various educational levels. Personal pronouns are multifunctional, and their functions range from inclusion to exclusion, and include establishing of rapport with students. In this chapter, we compare the use of personal pronouns at university and secondary school levels. Our previous study (Yeo & Ting, 2014) showed the frequent use of you in lecture introductions (2,170 instances in the 37,373-word corpus) to acknowledge the presence of students. The arts lecturers were more inclusive than the science lecturers, reflected in the less frequent use of exclusive-we and we for one, as well as the frequent use of you-generalised. We have also compiled and analysed a 43,511-word corpus from 15 English lessons in three Malaysian secondary schools. This corpus yielded 2,019 instances of personal pronoun use. The results showed that you was the most frequently used personal pronoun, followed by we and I. You-audience was used more than you-generalised, and the main function was to give instructions to students. The teachers appeared to be more directive than the lecturers in the previous study, who sometimes used the inclusive-we for you and I and we for I to lessen the social distance with students, indicating that the discourse functions of personal pronouns vary with the educational context. The findings suggest that educators can be alerted to the versatility of personal pronouns, for example, for engaging students in the lesson and for asserting authority in the subject matter.

Item Type: Book Chapter
Uncontrolled Keywords: personal pernouns, relationship, secondary schools, university, lecture and facilities.
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Divisions: Academic Faculties, Institutes and Centres > Faculty of Education, Language and Communication
Depositing User: Hie
Date Deposited: 02 Dec 2022 02:52
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2023 06:23

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