script and space, neighboring categories and their assumptions

From: Adam Lefstein (
Date: Mon Mar 29 2004 - 04:06:32 PST

Dear Kris and everyone,

This is one of my favorite articles and I'm really enthusiastic about its
selection for discussion in xmca.

I would like to further explore the concept of script and how it relates to
other analytical categories used in the analysis of classroom interaction
(among other activities). There certainly are a lot of terms to choose
from: script and space feature prominently in the article; Kris adds
discourse patterns in her note; we could also add to that habit(us),
routine, frame, activity type or system, conventions and rules, and games to
name a few. It seems to me that underlying all these various categories are
some basic ideas that have received broad acceptance in CHAT, interactional
sociolinguistics, ethnography of communication, ethnomethodology and related
fields (I'm sure I'm making a salad out of all these -- I'd love it if
someone could set me straight.):

1. Human interactions reflect regularities and patterns.

2. These patterns become routine for participants, and form frames for
understanding how to act and what to expect with regard to other
participants' action.

3. Participants' actions become habitualized, and come to reflect and
constitute their identities.

4. Patterns of participation are institutionalized, i.e. certain roles are
sanctioned for certain identities and certain forms of participation are
legitimated or illegitimated.

Again, would be very happy for someone to set me straight with regard to
this outline of my understanding of the dominant consensus (and/or point me
to a good discussion of this issue). Now, my question is how do (or do not)
"script" and "pedagogical space" relate to these assumptions? How do they
differ from other categories?

One reservation I have about the use of "script" is that it seems to
downplay the centrality of interaction in classroom activity. Talk of the
"teacher script" suggests that this pattern belongs to or is controlled by
the teacher. Hence, student interjections about James Brown and James Dean
are allegedly not part of the teacher script. This seems problematic to me;
I would argue that the teacher and students together have arrived at a
settlement in which the teacher tolerates student interjections and the
students tolerate the teacher's recitation. Other settlements from other
classrooms suggest that this is not a necessary (or even common, at least in
my experience) situation.


Adam Lefstein

Kings College London

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