Criticizing another’s child: How teachers evaluate students during parent-teacher conferences
As the principal occasion for establishing cooperation between family and school, the parent-teacher conference is crucial to the social and educational lives of children. But there is a problem: reports of parent-teacher conflict pervade extant literature. Previous studies do not, however, explain how conflict emerges in real time or how conflict is often avoided during confer- ences. This article examines a diverse corpus of video-recorded naturally oc- curring conferences to elucidate a structural preference organization operative during parent-teacher interaction that enables participants to fore- stall conflict. Focusing on teachers’ conduct around student-praise and student-criticism, this investigation demonstrates that teachers do extra inter- actional work when articulating student-criticism. This research explicates two of teachers’ most regular actions constituting this extra work: obfuscating responsibility for student-troubles by omitting explicit reference to the student, and routinizing student-troubles by invoking other comparable cases of that same trouble. Analysis illuminates teachers’ work to maintain solidarity with students, and thus parents.
Language in Society
Cambridge University Press
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Pillet-Shore, Danielle. (2016). Criticizing another’s child: How teachers evaluate students during parent-teacher conferences. Language in Society, 45(1), 33-58.