MIND Data session: Teppo Jakonen (Telepresence robots in language classrooms)

In our next data session, our visiting researcher Teppo Jakonen (University of Turku, Finland) will present a sequence from his database of interactions between telepresence robots and language learners in classrooms. The session will take place in Västerås (see below for details), but those who want to attend online can do that via Teams. Please get in touch with Olcay Sert if you want to attend online.


30 March: 

Teppo Jakonen (University of Turku)

Telepresence robots in language classrooms

U3-083 (Västerås), 13:15-14:45


Jakonen, T., & Jauni, H. (2022). Telepresent Agency: Remote Participation in Hybrid Language Classrooms via a Telepresence Robot. In New Materialist Explorations into Language Education (pp. 21-38). Cham: Springer International Publishing.
Jakonen, T., & Jauni, H. (2022). Telepresent Agency: Remote Participation in Hybrid Language Classrooms via a Telepresence Robot. In New Materialist Explorations into Language Education (pp. 21-38). Cham: Springer International Publishing.

MIND Data sessions, Spring 2023

Join us for our data sessions in Spring 2023!

MIND research group hosts 5 data sessions with data from a range of contexts: oral proficiency exams in Czechia, post-observation meetings after mathematics and language classrooms, telepresence robots in language classrooms in Finland, corpus-based professional development meetings, and project-work in Swedish classrooms. Get in touch with us if you want to take part in our sessions!


16 February:

David Ryška (Hradec Králové University)

English as a Foreign Language oral proficiency exams in Czechia

U3-083 Västerås, 13:15-14:45


9 March:

Maria Larsson, Annaliina Gynne (Mälardalen University)

Video-based reflections on understanding-checks in mathematics and language classrooms

U3-104 Västerås, 14:15-15:45


30 March:

Teppo Jakonen (University of Turku)

Telepresence robots in language classrooms

U3-083 (Västerås), 13:15-14:45


13 April:

Olcay Sert, Thorsten Schröter, Elisabeth Wulff-Sahlén (Mälardalen University)

Data-driven reflections in online professional development meetings

U3-104 Västerås, 13:15-14:45

9 May:

Marwa Amri (Mälardalen University)

Doing project work in EFL classrooms

U3-104 Västerås, 13:15-14:45

How did a focus on reading strategies shape the discussions about texts and images in a grade 4 science classroom?

In this guest blog post, Robert Walldén (Malmö University, Sweden) summarizes his article “Focusing on content or strategies? Enactment of reading strategies in discussions about science texts”, published in Classroom Discourse. The article explores the relationship between general literacy skills and engagement with subject-specific content in classrooms.


In progressing through schooling, students face the challenge of reading increasingly complex texts. In science teaching, students need to decipher the meaning of technical vocabulary and consider the relationship between verbal text and multimodal elements, such as images, graphs, and models. Many scholars and teachers view it as a matter of social justice to give all students, regardless of their social and linguistic background, the necessary tools to engage with subject-specific texts and concepts. However, views differ on how this is best achieved. Some promote the value of reading strategies that can be used across the curriculum, while others argue that the teaching of literacy skills must reflect disciplinary differences. Previous studies have studied positive effects of infusing reading strategies in science teaching. However, little is known about how teachers’ enactment of reading strategies impacts the way science texts are talked about and jointly negotiated in the on-going practice of teaching. Therefore, I used audio recordings, field notes and photographs to document a grade 4 teacher’s enactment of reading strategies in discussions about science texts throughout 10 weeks. The school was located in a linguistically diverse and socioeconomically disadvantaged area in Sweden. I was interested in how the strategy teaching seemed to align with content learning goals.

The strategies were mostly employed on texts in two well-known science textbooks. The teacher presented the strategies to the students and asked them to practice them in whole-class discussions about the texts. The first strategy the teacher focused on was using text knowledge to support the reading. While knowledge about different genres and linguistic patterns can be a powerful tool for reading, the teacher mostly contrasted the factual texts encountered in the textbook with fictional texts read in language arts lessons. It followed that the discussions based on this strategy highlighted some general feature of factual texts, such as headings guiding the reader by pointing out specific content. However, building on the broad categories of fictional and factual texts meant that the discussions did not touch on the different types of texts used for storing knowledge in the textbooks, such as explanations of processes in physics (e.g., different states of matter) and reports about classes of animals in biology (e.g., molluscs).

The second strategy entailed looking closely at different text features, such as images, headings and words marked with bold fonts. Since these features often represented or illustrated core concepts, such as states of water (physics) and different kinds of animals (biology), this strategy entailed discussions more focused on relevant disciplinary content. However, these discussions were still strongly shaped by the enactment of reading strategies. An example a textbook spread is displayed below, which deals with different states of water.

Figure 1 Persson, H. 2015. Boken om Fysik och Kemi. [The Book about Physics and Chemistry]. Stockholm: Liber, pp. 18-19

Figure 1 Persson, H. 2015. Boken om Fysik och Kemi. [The Book about Physics and Chemistry]. Stockholm: Liber, pp. 18-19

In the discussions about text features, the teacher mostly asked the students to focus on one page. In relation to the above spread, it meant that students commented on the images on the left side which illustrated water in solid and liquid state. They had contradicting thoughts on how useful these images to illustrate the concepts and commented on the fact that “vapor”, the third form, was not visually represented. The students were not asked to pay attention to the right part of the spread which represented vapor by means of a kettle. More importantly, the one-sided reading meant that the abstract model on the left page, representing the transformation between different states, was not discussed. In textbook spreads of this kind, it is common to first introduce concepts in familiar, down-to-earth manner (left side) and then recast them in a technical way (right side). Understanding such shifts between everyday and specialised ways of representing phenomena is crucial to develop knowledge in science. The isolated focus on specific parts of the text material appeared counterproductive in this respect.

What do these findings tell us?

The study revealed and exemplified challenges in infusing generic reading strategies in science teaching. The focus on strategies, general properties of factual texts, and isolated parts of the text material reduced the possibilities to expand on the scientific concepts in the classroom discussions. However, asking the students to pay attention to the function of different text elements, such as headings and images appeared valuable given the multimodal nature of science texts. The study shows the potential of asking the students to consider how key concepts, such as different states of matter, are represented in different ways.  A close attention to the metaphors, everyday contexts, and models used to convey disciplinary knowledge is a reading strategy well worth promoting. Furthermore, the strategy of using text knowledge could be strengthened by making a finer distinction between genres, including their ways of drawing on visual and verbal resources to communicate concepts and processes in science.

Robert Walldén

Associate Professor in Swedish and Didactics, Malmö University 

The full text of this article is available, open access, at https://doi.org/10.1080/19463014.2021.2023598

MIND Data session: Merve Bozbıyık (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid), 1 December, Västerås

Our next data session will take place on the 1st of December at Mälardalen University, Västerås (U3-104) at 13:15. Merve Bozbıyık (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid) will share data on Peer Interaction in breakout rooms in an online EMI classroom. During the session, an extract based on a collaborative group activity in an online Psychology course will be explored.

Bio: Merve Bozbıyık is a visiting doctoral researcher at Universidad Autónoma de Madrid and a PhD candidate at Hacettepe University. Her research interests involve investigating online and face-to-face classroom interaction, English Medium Instruction, and teacher education using Multimodal Conversation Analysis.

Questions and agency in the older adult language classroom

As life-long-learning initiatives have spread around the world, there are now more language courses offered to older-adults. However, we know very little about the interactional dynamics of classrooms in which older-adults learn languages. In this guest blog post, researcher Mara van der Ploeg (University of Groningen, the Netherlands) and her colleagues share their research findings on the interactional dynamics in classrooms where older adults have been learning English. The researchers specifically focused on questions the learners ask. The full text of the research article is available open access, and can be downloaded using this link. Please scroll down for a short, accessible summary.


As the world is ageing and people age more healthily, older adults have more time and opportunities to enjoy and pick-up new hobbies. One of those hobbies might be learning a new language. Despite the widespread belief that older adults cannot learn languages anymore (or at least not as easily as younger learners), research has shown that this is very much possible and that seniors also enjoy learning languages. Moreover, it has been suggested that learning a language later in life might contribute to healthy ageing by delaying the onset of age-related illnesses such as Alzheimer’s. When it comes to the older adult language learning classroom and classroom interaction, however, next to nothing is known. Therefore, we investigated language-related questions seniors asked during an English course in the Netherlands to gain insight into older adults’ language learning practices. 7 Dutch seniors (65+) participated in this English course specifically developed for, and targeted towards, seniors. After video-recording, transcribing and analysing their classroom interaction, we identified three different categories of language-related questions.

The first category of questions we identified are production-oriented questions. These are questions about the pronunciation or translation of a word or sentence that need to be answered (i.e., a question on vocabulary: ‘what is X in English?’) before the teacher and the students can continue with the lesson. Interestingly, the older adult asking the production-oriented question does not only address the teacher but directs the question towards the other learners as well. It is, however, the teacher who provides an answer to the question.

Secondly, we identified comprehension-oriented questions: questions regarding something someone else has said but that is not understood by the listener (i.e., ‘what does X mean?’). While in production-oriented questions both the teacher and other learners are addressed, in comprehension-oriented questions only the teacher is addressed. And where it is only the teacher answering production-oriented questions, other learners can also answer comprehension-oriented questions. Below we have provided an example of a production-oriented question and a comprehension-oriented question.  

Production-oriented question:

(The class discusses pronunciation of the letters in the alphabet; Loes asks for  the English translation (‘so’) of the Dutch word ‘dus’ in order to produce her next utterance) 
Loes:Dus, dus, what is dus?
(translation: so, so, what is so? & looks around the room)
Loes:So it’s a b c d (continues listing the alphabet).
Production-oriented questions

Comprehension-oriented question:

(The class does a speaking exercise in pairs where they play the role written on the card handed to them; Koen asks the meaning of ‘stepmother’ in order to play his role)
Koen:We have a question, what is a stepmother?
Loes:Stiefmoeder (translation: stepmother)
Teacher:Can you try to describe it?
Loes:I am the second wife of Koen, and his children, I am the stepmother.
Teacher:So they are the stepchildren.
Koen:Step ah okay.
Comprehension oriented questions

Finally, we found a great number of wonderment questions: questions that are not necessary for the activity at hand but that learners wonder about nonetheless (e.g., ‘are X and Y synonyms?’). They operate more on a meta-level and were actually the most common type of learner questions in our dataset. Unlike the two other categories, wonderment questions are mainly directed towards the teacher and also answered by the teacher. The other learners do, however, join in the conversation by acknowledging the answer provided by the teacher. An example of a wonderment question can be found below.

Wonderment question:

(The teacher explains question types; Pim does not need the answer to his question for the task at hand)
Pim:Could I ask a question, what is the difference when you say ‘do you play tennis’ or ‘are you playing tennis’?
Teacher:‘Are you playing tennis’ means right now.
Cees:Oh yeah
Pim:Yes, of course.
Wonderment questions

What do these results tell us?

Our study shows that (1) older adults mainly ask wonderment questions and that (2) they often turn the interaction into a multi-party interaction. While classroom interaction is usually teacher-fronted and typically involves the teacher and one learner, senior language learners include other learners in these interactions as well. Together, these two findings show that older adults display agency over their own learning process by inserting their own agendas into the interaction. Language teachers can use this ownership to allow and stimulate wonderment questions and multi-party interaction to enhance seniors’ language learning process. This can be done by explicitly inviting other learners to answer their peers’ questions and including discussion activities that create more room for the older adults to ask their questions.

To read the full text of this research article, please follow this link.

Mara van der Ploeg (University of Groningen, the Netherlands)

Annerose Willemsen (Linköping University, Sweden)

Louisa Richter (Otto-Friedrich-Universität Bamberg, Germany)

Merel Keijzer (University of Groningen, the Netherlands)

Tom Koole (University of Groningen, the Netherlands)

Call for chapters: Conversation Analysis as a Change Agent in Language Teacher Education

We are soliciting manuscripts for an edited volume on conversation analysis as a change agent in language teacher education. Over the last decade, conversation analytic (CA) findings from classroom discourse studies have started feeding into language teacher education contexts, yielding a number of CA-based teacher training frameworks such as SETT (Walsh 2013), IMDAT (Sert, 2019) and FAB (Waring & Creider, 2021). We have now reached a tipping point of grappling with or groping for the material impact of CA in the actual language classrooms around the world. In particular, we are interested in studies that document practice-based changes (e.g., change in teacher practices in the classroom and in reflective practices) in which CA plays a role. We realize that such CA-informed “interventions” can come in many shapes and forms and welcome a multitude of endeavors and innovations.

Should you be interested in participating in such a project, please send us a 300-word abstract by December 5, 2022 that describes (1) the context of the study, (2) the specific role CA plays as a change agent, and (3) the types of changes (to be) documented. Decisions for possible inclusion in the volume will be sent out by December 15, 2022, with submissions of first drafts due by July 1, 2023.

Please use this link to submit your abstract: https://forms.gle/nyKgsxJSqQDrzRo26 

Many thanks for your consideration. We look forward to hearing from you.

Olcay Sert and Hansun Waring

How do teachers handle errors in mathematics classrooms?

How teachers handle errors of students in classrooms has been a topic of interest for researchers across disciplines. Mathematics is no exception to this. In this guest blog post, researchers Odd Tore Kaufmann (Østfold University College, Norway), Maria Larsson (MIND & M-TERM Research groups, Mälardalen University, Sweden) and Andreas Ryve (M-TERM Research group, Mälardalen University, Sweden) share their research findings on mathematics teachers’ error handling practices across different lesson phases, drawing on their analysis of lessons from several Swedish municipality schools. The full text of the research article is available open access, and can be downloaded using this link. Please scroll down for a short, accessible summary.


Many studies have been conducted regarding teachers’ error-handling practices and how errors can be treated as opportunities for learning. Most of these studies have been done in the context of whole-class discussions. Therefore, we wanted to investigate teachers’ error-handling practices as they occur in different phases of mathematics lessons: introduction of the task, when students work alone, when students work in pairs, and finally, in whole-class discussions. We aimed to investigate if there are differences in error-handling practices across the lesson phases and what types of error-handling practices dominate the different lesson phases. We collected data from “Matematiklyftet (Boost for Mathematics),” a curriculum-based professional development program launched by the Swedish National Agency for Education. The study included 12 teachers and 51 lessons in grades 4-6 in Sweden. All lessons were video-taped. We categorized teachers’ error handling practices and found eight different types of error-handling. 

We found that in the introduction, the most common error handling practice was to ignore the error and give a direct correction (either by saying the correct answer or telling the student that s/he is wrong). We believe the reason for this strategy in the introduction of the lesson is that the teachers want to keep this phase short and avoid too many potentially confusing mathematical discussions.

When students work alone or in pairs, asking students to talk to each other and reflect is the most common error handling practice, in addition to correcting students’ errors by direct or embedded corrections. Embedded correction aims to lead the student towards the correct answer with one or more funnelling questions or comments. The set-up of error-handling practices during these phases is in resonance with the idea that teachers should not disturb students during their mathematical work, hence being somewhat invisible or non-intervening while students are working.

A larger variation of error-handling practices was found in whole-class discussions including discussion and teacher explanation. In a whole-class discussion, often held at the end of the lessons observed, the teacher uses the opportunity to bring up errors that s/he had noticed during individual/group work. In such situations, the teacher involves the students in discussing errors more than s/he does in other lesson phases.

What do these findings tell us?

The study revealed how teachers handle errors within and across lesson phases, and has implications for learning, teaching, and teacher education. We argue that involving students to discuss errors, rather than merely ignoring or correcting them, may enhance learning opportunities. They can give their students time and opportunities to discuss and resolve their errors with their peers in small groups and in whole-class settings. Teachers, however, need to develop awareness of differences between different lesson phases in order to achieve this. This requires that teachers reflect on their lessons to observe these interactional practices, and opportunities for such reflections should be a part of both initial teacher education and continuous professional development.

To read the full text of this research article, please follow this link.

Odd Tore Kaufmann  (Østfold University College, Norway)

Maria Larsson (MIND & M-TERM Research groups, Mälardalen University, Sweden)

Andreas Ryve (M-TERM Research group, Mälardalen University, Sweden)

MIND Data sessions, Autumn 2022

Please get in touch with Olcay Sert (olcay.sert[at]mdu.se) if you want to join in.


MIND Data Sessions – Autumn 2022


13 October:

Olcay Sert, Marwa Amri, Annaliina Gynne (Mälardalen University)

Transforming situated language policies through data-led reflections on classroom interaction (CA/Ethnography data session)

U3-083, Västerås, 13:15-14:45


3 November:

Teppo Jakonen (University of Turku), Olcay Sert (Mälardalen University)

Telepresence robots in language classrooms

Online, 13:00-14:30 (send an email to olcay.sert@mdu.se for the Zoom link)


1 December:

Merve Bozbıyık (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain)

Online classroom interaction in an English Medium Instruction context

U3-104 (Västerås), 13:15-14:45


15 December:

Marwa Amri (Mälardalen University)

Project work in upper-secondary English language classrooms in Sweden

U3-083, Västerås, 13:15-14:45

Some reflections on the ECER 2022 conference: from Mälardalen to Yerevan

Olcay Sert

I am one of those who think that one needs to balance “big” and more focused “small” conferences during a year: you can dig in deep in more subject/methodology/field specific small conferences, and map the broader field in a big one. For me, the European Conference on Educational Research (ECER) 2022 in Yerevan was a big one: the whole field of education! Even language education conferences or big applied linguistics conferences (e.g. AAAL) are massive, but what was I doing in Yerevan? I will start from the beginning of the story.

On the 21st of December, 2021, we decided to have a conference abstract writing workshop under Elin Sundström Sjödin‘s leadership, organised by SOLD (Language and Literature) research environment. After a successful workshop and rounds of peer-feedback, all of those who submitted an abstract (1300 words!) got accepted: Christa Roux Sparreskog, Simon Sjölund, Elin Sundström Sjödin,

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At the crossroads of artefacts, technologies, and pedagogies: Interactional pathways for learning and teaching

Mälardalen INteraction & Didactics (MIND) Research group is organizing a symposium on the 15th of June in Västerås. The theme of the symposium is “At the crossroads of artefacts, technologies, and pedagogies: Interactional pathways for learning and teaching”. Together with researchers from different universities in Sweden and Finland, we will discuss our ongoing research as well as future directions.
The symposium brings together projects that address the use of online translation tools, smartphones, telepresence robots, mobile observation tools, and other artefacts both in formal and informal learning environments, with a focus on micro-analysis of interaction.

Please send an email to olcay.sert[at]mdu.se by the 8th of June if you want to join us.

At the crossroads of artefacts, technologies, and pedagogies:
Interactional pathways for learning and teaching

Mälardalen INteraction & Didactics (MIND)
Research Group

15 June 2022
Venue: Västerås, U3-104

Nigel Musk & Sofie van der Meij

Critical strategies for selecting candidate translations in online translation tools in collaborative writing tasks

Silvia Kunitz & Ali Reza Majlesi

Exploring the use of smartphones in language cafés

Amanda Hoskins

The affordances of various artefacts for task-based interaction


Teppo Jakonen, Heidi Jauni & Olcay Sert

Achieving intersubjectivity of gaze in robot-mediated L2 interaction

Olcay Sert, Annaliina Gynne & Maria Larsson

Overt negative evaluation in classroom interaction:
Tracking its use through video-based observation, feedback, and reflection

Discussion & QA

Poster: At the crossroads of artefacts, technologies, and pedagogies:
Interactional pathways for learning and teaching
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