Negotiating identities: Relational work in critical post observation feedback [Oral Presentation]
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Donaghue, H. (2018) 'Negotiating identities: Relational work in critical post observation feedback', BAAL 2018: Taking Risks in Applied Linguistics, York St John University, 6-8 September.
Discourse is considered an important locus for the study of identity (Bucholtz and Hall, 2005). Benwell and Stokoe (2006) note the ‘enthusiastic use’ (p.34) of the term ‘discourse’ in identity theory, but maintain that empirical studies are rare, with few researchers engaging with actual situated examples of language use or looking at how identities are discursively performed. This presentation will examine how identities are negotiated during work-based talk between an inservice English language teacher and two supervisors during post observation feedback meetings. Using a linguistic ethnographic framework, micro analysis of feedback talk will be supplemented with data from interviews in which participants were invited to comment on selected meeting extracts. Linguistic analysis will draw on the concept of relational work: ‘the “work” individuals invest in negotiating relationships with others' (Locher and Watts, 2005: 10). Relational work allows examination of the full spectrum of interpersonal linguistic behaviour: polite, appropriate, inappropriate and impolite. A detailed microanalysis of data extracts from the two meetings will show interactants' use of relational work to negotiate identities. I will show how one supervisor uses politeness strategies while the other uses aggressive behaviour to claim similar identities for themselves while ascribing a negative identity for the observed teacher as they both highlight a weakness in his practice (poor instructions). I will examine the teacher's reaction and participants' ensuing identity negotiations. Analysis will show that identities are emergent, relational and co-constructed. Ethnographic data will reveal the influence of institutional goals on local identity construction and relational work.