Transcript 1: Carbon
- Teacher: Ron?
- Ron: Boron?
- Teacher: That would be—That’d have uh . . . seven electrons. So you’d have to have one here, one here, one here, one here, one here . . . one here—Who said it? You?
- Student: Carbon.
- Teacher: What’s—
- Students: Carbon! Carbon!
- Teacher: Carbon. Carbon. Here. Six electrons. And they can be anywhere within those—confining—orbitals. This is also from the notes from before. The term orbital refers to the average region transversed [sic] by an electron. Electrons occupy orbitals that may differ in size, shape, or orientation. That’s—that’s from the other class, we might as well use it for review. (pp. 17–18, 20)
"Lemke explained that this is a conversation between a teacher standing at the blackboard on which a chalk Atomic Orbital Diagram is drawn. As the teacher talks, he gestures at the diagram and a periodic table hung on the wall. The drawing and table are more than mere props of the teacher’s and students’ dialogue, and they are more than mnemonic devices for the students. At the least, they serve as part of preparing contexts (Lemke, 1990) within which particular questions and statements make sense. When students miss these preparations, they might not even understand what is expected of them as interlocutors, much less the science content of the talk (Lemke, 1990). In terms of our discussion, the students are expected not only to learn to talk about atoms and their orbitals in the correct way, but also to recognize and use such diagrams and tables in the correct ways as well to perform adequate identities as science students. Because science talk is a gateway to further education as well as career choices, such simple routines as this one are important as apprenticeship activities. When we employ turn taking as the unit of analysis and fail to include any description of the activity that co-occurs with the talk and contextualizes it as part of the transcript, some parts of the talk become virtually meaningless to the analyst (i.e., pointing out electrons—“one here” or referring to the diagram “that’s from the other class”). If we are interested in how the mediational means (like diagrams), talk, and activity work together as a distributed system, with how both talk and action shape each other over the course of an activity, and thus with how people learn to use the linguistic and nonlinguistic stuff that makes up Discourse, then we need a different kind of transcript."
Rowe, S. (2001). Discourse in activity and activity as discourse. An introduction to critical discourse analysis in education / edited by Rebecca Rogers.