First Advisor

Kimberley A. Brown

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages


Teaching English as a Second Language


Teacher-student relationships, Sex differences in education, English language -- Study and teaching (Higher) -- Foreign speakers



Physical Description

1 online resource (vi, 190 p.)


Because teacher I student interactions provide opportunities for correction and comprehensible input, a major component of successful language learning, equitable distribution of teacher I student interactions in the language classroom is an important element for the success of all second language students. The purpose of the present study was to determine whether differences in teacher I student interactions based on student gender occurred in four college English as a Second Language instructors' classrooms. The role of instructor gender and student ethnicity in teacher I student interaction content and frequency were also examined. Informal interviews were designed to determine the instructors' awareness of their classroom behaviors as they relate to equality in teacher I student interactions. The subjects in this study were two male and two female ESL instructors and their students from two private Portland area universities. Interaction frequency data were collected using a seating chart instrument which placed interactions into three categories. Interaction content was determined through the use of a modified Equivalent Talk Category Classroom Interaction Inventory (ETC) (developed by Bentley and Miller, 1971) which classified the interactions into eight separate categories. All data were analyzed using a factorial ANOV A for which the mean behaviors per fifty minute observation acted as the dependent variable and student gender, student ethnicity, instructor gender, and category type served as the independent variables. The analysis revealed that one male and one female instructor interacted significantly more frequently with their male students than they did with their female students and one female instructor interacted significantly more frequently with her female students. Student ethnicity was a major contributor to the disparity in interactions in both classrooms in which males interacted more than females. Middle Eastern and African male students were found to interact with their instructor significantly more frequently than Asian male students. No difference in interaction content was found in interactions between instructors and their male and female students. Instructor interviews revealed that all instructors believed they used a variety of methods to ensure interaction equality in their classrooms indicating that they were not aware of the differences in interaction frequencies which were discovered.


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