Pre-service Teachers’ Comparative Analyses of Teacher-/Parent- Child Talk: Making Literacy Teaching Explicit and Children’s Literacy Learning Visible


  • Shirley O'Neill University of Southern Queensland
  • Deborah Geoghegan University of Southern Queensland
Keywords: literacy pedagogy, classroom discourse analysis, explicit literacy teaching, pre-service teacher education, teacher-talk

Supporting Agencies

  • University of Southern Queensland
  • Faculty of Education


This paper reports on the results of a meta-analysis of first year pre-service teachers’ investigations of two transcripts of teacher/student talk. The first is set in the home environment and the second in the classroom. Working with specific tools of analysis and knowledge of the role of talk in literate, cultural and social practices they identified evidence of effective literacy pedagogy. They presented their findings in the genre of a written comparative analysis. The results showed the discourse analysis task helped them understand the vital role of the adult’s talk in scaffolding children’s learning in each context and raised awareness of how the adults’ cognitive “moves” impacted on the scaffolding of literacy learning. Outcomes highlighted the need for teacher preparation courses to focus on the way classroom discourse relates to pedagogy and children’s literacy learning by providing exemplary teaching episodes, and studying the pedagogical language competencies involved.


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Author Biographies

Shirley O'Neill, University of Southern Queensland

Shirley O’Neill is Associate Professor of Language and Literacies Education in the Faculty of Education, University of Southern Queensland and the Associate Director, Literacy Pedagogies and Learning in the Leadership Research International group. Her research focuses on literacy learning, teaching and assessment and the outcomes of "IDEAS" school revitalisation processes’ school wide pedagogical change. Her research and teaching also includes ESL/EFL, cross-cultural communication, English language testing and multimedia.

Deborah Geoghegan, University of Southern Queensland

Deborah Geoghegan, lectures in literacy education and early childhood curriculum and pedagogy at the University of Southern Queensland, Australia. She is a member of the University of Southern Queensland Leadership Research International (LRI) and is currently working to complete her PhD entitled: Using metaphor as a tool to promote reflective practice in pre-service early childhood educators: An epistemological inquiry into beliefs about learning and teaching, in 2012. Her research interests include classroom discourse analysis, teacher cognition, quality literacy pedagogy and service learning as pedagogy to improve pre-service teacher literacy education. She has worked extensively in schools within Australia and the United States in both teaching and leadership roles.
How to Cite
O’Neill, S., & Geoghegan, D. (2012). Pre-service Teachers’ Comparative Analyses of Teacher-/Parent- Child Talk: Making Literacy Teaching Explicit and Children’s Literacy Learning Visible. International Journal of English Studies, 12(1), 97–128.