Abstract

Repair practices used by teachers who work with children with specific speech and language difficulties (SSLDs) have hitherto remained largely unexplored. Such classrooms therefore offer a new context for researching repairs and considering how they compare with non-SSLD interactions. Repair trajectories are of interest because they are dialogic sites where the child's meaning is being negotiated and, therefore, where adults might create opportunities for language learning. The interactions take place during activities, such as story writing, where teachers elicit children's ideas and orient to their lack of clarity. From a data set of 78 cases, four significant patterns of teacher repair initiation emerged. First, non-specific repair initiators (RIs), such as ‘say that again’, target any aspect of the prior turn and reveal the adult's lack of grasp of its content. Next, specific RIs (‘she has’) that are constructed with minimal components of the child's turn, pinpoint the location of the trouble but provide no new lexical information. In contrast, specific RIs that are constructed as ‘wh’ questions (‘down where’), target the nature of the trouble and elicit further information. Finally, offers of candidates (‘do you mean X’) do provide new models of lexis but do not elicit repetition from the child.

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