In this article, I will explore some of the emotional and educational consequences of (im)politeness in teacher–student interaction (T–S interaction, henceforth) at higher education, with reference to their influence in motivation and learning. Politeness theory (Brown and Levinson in Questions and politeness: strategies in social interaction, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1978, Politeness: some universals in language usage, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1987) will be extended to include a discursive approach to the management of interpersonal relations (Spencer-Oatey in Culturally speaking: managing rapport through talk across cultures, Continuum, London, 2008), and further developments towards the expression of impoliteness. (Im)politeness and rapport management will be analysed in combination with self-determination (Deci and Ryan in J Res Personal 19:109–134, 1985) and appraisal theories (Martin in Evaluation in text: authorial stance and the construction of discourse, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2000; Martin and White in The language of evaluation. Appraisal in English, Palgrave Macmillan, New York, 2005; Hunston and Thompson in Evaluation in text. Authorial stance and the construction of discourse, Oxford University Press, Oxford, 2000; Thompson and Alba-Juez in Evaluation in context, John Benjamins, Amsterdam, 2014) in order to examine the role of motivation and negative evaluative meanings in the construction of impoliteness in interaction. Data have been extracted from a corpus that is being compiled by the author. It contains classroom interaction, email exchanges and higher education students’ reports on their perception of (im)politeness and rapport in their academic lives. The data have been processed and analysed combining corpus linguistics, conversation analysis and systemic functional discourse analysis. Results show that the discourse of teaching typically contains many rapport sensitive discourse acts and that their face-aggravating potential increases when conveying negative evaluative language and when students present a challenging orientation to rapport due to different reasons, being lack of intrinsic motivation an important one. Other aspects which can result in face aggravation such as different expectations regarding sociality rights and obligations will be discussed. As T–S interaction has effects not only on the relations reated among teachers and students but also on the teaching–learning process, it seems essential that the involved parties become aware of the impact of rapport management and of the fact that learning is facilitated by good interpersonal rapport but can be seriously undermined by its absence.
Corpus Pragmatics – Springer Journals
Published: Apr 3, 2017
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