How University Students Managed Conflictual Talk in Small-Group Text Discussion

Feng-ming Chi


The aim of this article was to investigate how 10 groups of Taiwanese university students managed conflictual talk via two text discussions, and how they perceived such talk as a social act of reading. Data sources included each group’s text discussions and an oral interview with each participant. Three holistic, detailed, and selective approaches were used to glean the meaning of the data; as a result, five aspects of conflictual talk, namely, collaboration, reflexivity, humor, alteration, and collision were generated for discussion. The findings revealed that conflictual talk provided multiple opportunities for participants to carry out meaning co-construction with their peers; participants not only clarified, elaborated, and challenged one another’s ideas, but also had to listen attentively to one another and direct the discussion themselves. However, if any group members showed no interest in negotiating meaning with their peers, conflictual talk may lead to confrontations. The pedagogical implications of this work are also addressed.



English language learning, text discussion, conflictural talk, collaboration, reflexivity, collision

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