Asking for more

Teachers’ invitations for elaboration in whole-class discussions


  • Annerose Willemsen Linköping University, Sweden
  • Myrte N. Gosen University of Groningen, the Netherlands
  • Tom Koole University of Groningen, the Netherlands
  • Kees de Glopper University of Groningen, the Netherlands



conversation analysis, classroom interaction, whole-class discussion, invitation for elaboration, teacher questioning


This paper addresses the ways in which teachers in whole-class discussions invite students to elaborate their previous turn. Our conversation analytic study uncovers that the teachers’ invitations are prompted by elicited as well as spontaneous student turns of both subjective and factual nature. While giving the students the space to expand on their previous turn, most invitations nevertheless steer towards a specific type of response, namely an account or explanation. Only incidentally, the invitations simply solicit a continuation. The fact that the invitations follow not only teacher-initiated, but also student-initiated contributions reflects the teachers’ attempts to foster an actual discussion framework in which they partly hand over control and in which the student contributions are taken up for further consideration.

Author Biographies

Annerose Willemsen, Linköping University, Sweden

Annerose Willemsen is a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Behavioral Sciences and Learning at Linköping University. Using multimodal conversation analysis and discursive psychology, she focuses on interaction in educational settings. During her PhD at the University of Groningen, she analysed teacher conduct facilitating whole-class discussions around texts in primary school. Currently, she studies children’s traffic and mealtime socialization in Swedish preschools. She has published in international journals such as Classroom Discourse, Linguistics and Education and Social Interaction.

Myrte N. Gosen, University of Groningen, the Netherlands

Myrte Gosen is an assistant professor at the Center for Language and Cognition Groningen. She has a particular research interest in classroom interactions in relation to knowledge and she uses conversation analysis to identify the fundamental structures and practices in interaction that are related to knowledge construction. She has published in international journals such as Pragmatics and Society, Classroom Discourse, International Journal of Educational Research and Linguistics and Education. 

Tom Koole, University of Groningen, the Netherlands

Tom Koole is professor of language and social interaction at the Center for Language and Cognition Groningen and visiting professor at the Health Communication Research Unit of the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg. He uses conversation analysis to study interaction processes in particular in education and health care. He has published in international journals such as Research on Language and Social Interaction, Journal of Pragmatics, Discourse Studies, Pragmatics and Society, Health Psychology and Linguistics and Education.

Kees de Glopper, University of Groningen, the Netherlands

Kees de Glopper is Professor of Speech Communication and Discourse Analysis at the University of Groningen. His research deals with language and literacy education.


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How to Cite

Willemsen, A., Gosen, M., Koole, T., & de Glopper, K. . (2021). Asking for more: Teachers’ invitations for elaboration in whole-class discussions. Research on Children and Social Interaction, 4(2), 192–216.




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