Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School of Education


This thesis explores how classroom interaction affects learning potentials; in particular, it investigates the relationship between teacher follow-up moves and student learning affordances. It addresses a number of research questions to understand how teacher follow-up moves influence the generation of learning affordances, namely: How do teacher follow-up moves limit learning affordances?; How do teacher follow-up moves promote learning affordances? What learning conditions are perceived to create the most learning affordances?

This is a qualitative multiple case study design investigating three Business English classes at a Vietnamese university over one semester. Data was collected from different sources, including classroom observations which were audio and video recorded, field notes, stimulated recalls and interviews. The implementation of different methods enabled rich data which could be examined through multiple perspectives of the participants.

The study is informed by sociocultural theory (Vygotsky, 1978). This framework specifies learning as cooperative participation, and the role of learners as contributors of knowledge. By examining the functions and prospective levels of the teacher follow-up moves, it enables a thorough analysis of classroom discourse in terms of how opportunities for student learning are generated.

The study provides a detailed analysis, interpretation and discussion of how different types of teacher follow-up moves and their levels of prospectiveness shape potentials and possibilities for student learning. It demonstrates that a strong orientation towards knowledge assessment and transmission limits learning opportunities, whereas teacher’s encouragement for co-construction of knowledge leads to increased student participation. Accordingly, teacher follow-up moves that do not require or encourage students to extend their discourse limit opportunities for participation. On the other hand, follow-up moves that request increased student contribution such as confirmation requests and justification requests create opportunities for students to use the target language and their personal background knowledge and experience. The study highlights the crucial role of teachers in managing learner opportunities via their implementation of follow-up moves.

FoR codes (2008)




Unless otherwise indicated, the views expressed in this thesis are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the University of Wollongong.