Skip to content

Multimodal analysis of classroom interaction

Multimodal analysis


Dr Roberta Taylor

Project date

2013 - ongoing

Longitudinal perspectives on pupil-to-pupil classroom interaction

Having worked with a cohort of primary school children in Years 2 and 5 to closely examine child-to-child interaction, I returned to the same participants in 2013-14 when they were in Year 11, aged 15-16, to observe their classroom interaction as they prepared for their GCSE exams later in the year. This project investigates how learners use gesture, posture, gaze and touch as well as language in their classroom communication through Multimodal Discourse Analysis.

The first dataset analysed drew from a corpus of 26 videoed lessons across a range of curriculum areas. It formed the basis of a presentation on collaborative classroom interaction at The Learner International Conference in New York July 2014 and a symposium on 'Examining Meaning-making in Contemporary Literacy Classrooms' with Burnett, Daniels and Bailey at the American Literacy Research Association Conference, December 2014. In February 2015 I was invited to give a UK Literacy Association (UKLA) seminar at University of Leeds on engagement in collaborative classroom interaction. Longitudinal perspectives on classroom interaction were the focus of a presentation, Imagining Bodies, at the American Education Research Association annual conference in New York, 2018. The first article from this project on engagement has been published in the journal Thinking Skills and Creativity.

I have used all of my research in my teaching on undergraduate Education modules to do with language and learning, digital literacies and research methodologies. I have also taught sessions on Multimodality on the Doctorate in Education (Ed.D.) programme here at Sheffield Hallam University. I would like to continue my relationship with any of the participants who are willing to be part of a wider project to see where their choices at 18+ take them on their learning journey. I am interested in the longitudinal perspectives on pupil interaction in classrooms and the development of identity and aspiration with a single cohort over 12 years.


SHU small grants scheme

Document links

  • Taylor, Roberta (2016) The multimodal texture of engagement: Prosodic language, gaze and posture in engaged, creative classroom interaction. Thinking Skills and Creativity, 20, pp. 83-96 (available online)
  • Taylor, Roberta (2014) Meaning between, in, and around words, gestures and postures: Multimodal meaning making in children's classroom communication. Language and Education, 28/5, pp. 401-420.
  • Taylor, Roberta (2012) Messing about with Metaphor: multimodal aspects to children's creative meaning making. Literacy, UKLA (available online)
Share this page

Cancel event

Are you sure you want to cancel your place on Saturday 12 November?