Authority and Politeness: Complementary Analyses of Mathematics Teaching Episodes

  • Konstantinos TatsisEmail author
  • David Wagner
Part of the ICME-13 Monographs book series (ICME13Mo)


In this chapter we juxtapose two analyses of episodes from a year 9 mathematics class. Particularly, we analyse the ways that a mathematics teacher managed authority relationships when he moved from a familiar context to an unfamiliar one in a much larger school. We build off an analysis using authority structures, following previous research. Then we compare that to an analysis based on politeness theory, with a focus on the effect of verbal acts on the participants’ faces. Additionally, we investigate how various verbal acts affect the definition of the situation. We conclude by comparing the revelations from the two conceptual frames; we claim that politeness theory may help us explain teachers’ and students’ choices of particular authority structures in their classroom interactions.


Authority Politeness Face-saving Positioning Discourse 


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© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Primary EducationUniversity of IoanninaIoanninaGreece
  2. 2.Faculty of EducationUniversity of New BrunswickFrederictonCanada

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