What is Discourse in Education?

Discourse is a theory of learning that emphasizes the role of language in education. It is concerned with how people use language to construct meaning, how they communicate with each other, and how they come to understand the world around them.

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In education, discourse refers to the different ways that people communicate with each other. It can be verbal or written, and it can happen in person or online. Discourse is a way of understanding how people interact with each other and how they make meaning.

Discourse analysis is a tool that educators can use to examine the different ways that people communicate in education. It can help us to understand what people are saying and why they are saying it. Discourse analysis can also help us to identify power dynamics in education, and to understand how these dynamics affect the way that people communicate with each other.

What is discourse?

Discourse is a term that can be used in a variety of ways, but most generally, it refers to verbal communication. In the classroom, discourse refers to the formal and informal exchange of ideas between students and teachers. Discourse can also refer to written communication, such as in a research paper.

Linguistic perspective

From a linguistic perspective, discourse is a level of language above the sentence. In other words, it is a way of looking at language that sees it as made up of larger units than the sentence. These units can be paragraphs, utterances, or even whole texts. In this way of looking at language, what a text says and how it says it are two different but related things.

Discourse analysis looks at how language is used in real life situations. It attempts to uncover the meaning behind the words that people use and to understand how that meaning is conveyed through the use of specific language choices.

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Discourse analysis is concerned with both the content of a text (what it says) and the form of a text (how it says it).

Sociolinguistic perspective

When sociolinguists study discourse, they look at how language is used in social situations. This might involve looking at the way people use language to communicate with each other in different contexts, or how language use varies across different social groups.

Discourse analysis is a tool that sociolinguists can use to study how language is used in different contexts. It involves looking at the way people use language, and analysing the structure of their conversation.

Discourse analysis can be used to study any kind of social interaction, but it is often used to study spoken interactions, as these are more natural and easier to analyse than written texts.

Critical discourse perspective

Discourse has been studied within many different frameworks within linguistics and education, but one of the most influential paradigms is known as the critical discourse perspective (CDP). This framework is used to describe how power and inequality are reproduced through language. In other words, those with more power tend to use language in a way that reinforces their position of authority, while marginalized groups are often silenced or excluded.

CDP has been used to analyze a wide range of topics, including political speeches, media coverage of events, and even children’s literature. Researchers working within this tradition often use qualitative methods to close read texts and identify patterns of bias or exclusion. This type of analysis can be beneficial in uncovering hidden forms of discrimination and raising awareness about social injustice.

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What is discourse in education?

Discourse is a term used in education to refer to the written and spoken language that is used in classrooms. It is the way in which teachers and students communicate with each other. Discourse can be formal or informal, and it can be spoken or written.

Linguistic perspective

In linguistics, discourse is a conceptual generalization of conversation within each modality and context of communication. The totality of codified language (lexicon and grammar) used in a given speech community is known as that community’s discourse. Discourse is used to refer to both the objects and accomplishments of an activity. It can be seen as the social orientation of language, which implies that language does not exist apart from society, or culture. Linguists interest in discourse has revolved around two central questions: what structures are common across different types of discourse; and how do these structures differ?

Sociolinguistic perspective

Discourse, according to the sociolinguistic perspective, is a way of thinking that is conditioned by the linguistic conventions of a community. In other words, it is the ways in which language is used to communicate meanings within a particular culture or society.

The sociolinguistic perspective on discourse views language as a tool for social interaction. It emphasizes the ways in which language use is shaped by the norms and values of a particular culture or community.

Discourse analysis, from this perspective, is a way of understanding how language is used to create and maintain social relationships. It involves looking at the ways in which people use language to interact with each other and to make meaning in their everyday lives.

Critical discourse perspective

In the critical discourse perspective, language is not seen as a transparent medium for communication, but as a social practice that is encoded with ideologies and power relations. This perspective has its roots in the work of Fairclough (1989), who argued that we need to go beyond the study of text if we want to understand how people use language to achieve their goals in society.

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Critical discourse analysis (CDA) is a research methodology that combines the tools of critical theory and linguistics to analyze the way that power and inequality are reproduced through language. CDA has been used to study a wide range of social phenomena, including media representations of immigrants (Blommaert, 2005), school textbooks (Luke, 1995), and political speeches (Charaudeau, 2002).

A key principle of CDA is that language is not neutral; instead, it encodes the values and beliefs of those who use it. For example, consider the following two descriptions of an educational event:

-The teacher facilitated a discussion about immigration.
-The teacher led a heated debate about immigration.

Both descriptions are accurate, but they encode different values and beliefs about immigration. The first description is neutral, while the second one suggests that immigration is a controversial topic.

CDA researchers try to “decode” the values and beliefs that are encoded in language use, with the goal of revealing how power and inequality are reproduced through everyday communication.


In conclusion, discourse is a form of communication that is used in order to share ideas and meanings. It can be used in order to promote learning and understanding within a group or community. Discourse plays an important role in education as it can be used to construct knowledge and create meaning. It is a powerful tool that can be used to facilitate learning and understanding.

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