Date of Award

Spring 5-7-2011

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Applied Linguistics and English as a Second Language

First Advisor

John Murphy

Second Advisor

Diane Belcher

Third Advisor

Stephanie Lindemann

Fourth Advisor

Eric Friginal


The purpose of the present study is to expand our current understanding of second language classroom discourse by exploring how four English as a second language (ESL) teachers working in an intensive English program structurally organize classroom language lessons through the use of language; how students and teachers perceive the functions of the various stages in a lesson; how teachers prepare for their language lessons; and how various discourses and texts in this teaching context influence teachers‘ spoken discourse in the classroom. In order to carry out the exploratory study of language lessons, a multidimensional genre-oriented approach is utilized that is sensitive to both textual and contextual analyses of language lessons.

The findings suggest that despite the spontaneous nature of classroom settings and sometimes improvised nature of classroom teaching, experienced ESL teachers have generated and internalized schemata of language lessons, which consists of a stable schematic structure and linguistic patterns that are recognizable by both teachers and students. However, rather than viewing a language lesson as a distinctive genre, the study suggests that it might be described more precisely as a sub-genre of the classroom discourse genre proper that shares broad communicative purposes with other classroom discourse sub-genres, although also maintaining its own distinct characteristics. Further, the analysis indicates that seven resources appear to interact in dynamic, dialogic, and complex ways as experienced teachers set about constructing lessons that are goal-oriented, activity-driven, cohesive, and meaningful for both themselves and their students. Finally, the results demonstrate that experienced teachers integrate various material resources in the classroom that influence their talk; consequently, a language lesson can be regarded as both a process and a product that is highly multimodal, multimedial, and intertextual. The study concludes with implications for genre studies, classroom discourse studies, and second language teacher education, and with suggestions for future research.