• Users Online: 416
  • Home
  • Print this page
  • Email this page
Home About us Editorial board Ahead of print Current issue Search Archives Submit article Instructions Subscribe Contacts Login 

 Table of Contents  
Year : 2016  |  Volume : 2  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 205-212

The effect of teacher talk style on student achievement

Department of Education, University of Tabriz, Tabriz, East Azarbaijan, Iran

Date of Web Publication2-Sep-2016

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Firooz Mahmoodi
Department of Education, University of Tabriz, Tabriz, East Azarbaijan
Login to access the Email id

Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2395-2296.189668

Rights and Permissions

Aim: This study examines the effect of teacher talk and interaction on students' achievement in Tabriz high schools. Methods: This research was a descriptive and correlation study. Sixty teachers and 800 students by multistage random sampling are selected for study. For gathering data, the observation method based on Flanders interaction analysis categories was used. The validity of the instrument was approved by Flanders and other researchers. The reliability of the Flanders interaction analysis was measured by inter-observer agreement ranged from 0.85 to 1.00. Result: The results showed an independent t-test revealed no significant difference between male and female talk and teaching style. A one-way ANOVA revealed a significant difference in praises or encouragements in teaching mathematics, empirical sciences, and humanities. Conclusion: Humanities teachers encouraged students more than those of mathematics and empirical sciences. In addition, the direct teaching is negatively correlated with students' achievement.

Keywords: Flanders interaction analysis categories, student achievement, student talk, teacher talk, teacher/student interaction

How to cite this article:
Mahmoodi F. The effect of teacher talk style on student achievement. Int J Educ Psychol Res 2016;2:205-12

How to cite this URL:
Mahmoodi F. The effect of teacher talk style on student achievement. Int J Educ Psychol Res [serial online] 2016 [cited 2021 Jul 31];2:205-12. Available from: https://www.ijeprjournal.org/text.asp?2016/2/4/205/189668

  Introduction Top

The student's achievement and examination of effective factors in student learning are themes on which many educational researches are based. There are so many factors contributing to students' achievement, one of which is teacher/student's interaction in the classroom.

The importance of interaction between teachers–students in supporting positive learner outcomes is well documented.[1],[2],[3],[4] Bloom pointed out that we must begin to examine what teachers do, not what teachers are.[5] Many educational researchers believe that we need to examine the teaching and learning process through observational techniques and to emphasize process–product research rather than input–output research.[6],[7],[8],[9],[10],[11],[12] Medley and Mitzel wrote that:

“Certainly, there is no more obvious approach to research on teaching than direct observation of the behavior of teachers while they teach and students while they learn. Yet, it is a rare study indeed that includes any formal observation at all. In a typical example of research on teaching, the research worker limits himself to the manipulation or study of antecedents, and consequents of whatever happens in the classrooms while the teaching itself is going on, but never one looks into the classroom to see how teacher actually teaches or how the students actually learn.”[8]

In order to substantially improve the quality of education which students receive, we must study what happens in classroom, how teacher communicates with students, how we should attempt to engage students in teaching–learning process, how we should explain a difficult concept to students, and how we should use direct and indirect teaching styles. Brophy concludes, “any attempt to improve student achievement must be based on the development of effective teaching behavior.”[13]

The instructional interaction between teacher and students is a critical aspect of this paper. Brophy [13] says that engagement rates depend on the teacher's ability to organize the classroom as an efficient technique. Pascarella and Chapman found that the amount and content of formal and informal students–teacher interaction enhance student achievement.[14]

Flanders conducted extensive studies regarding student–teacher interaction in the face-to-face classroom and concluded that increased interaction between student–teacher was positively correlated with student achievement and attitudes toward learning.[7]

Jackson discovered that the teachers engaged in, as many as 1000 exchanges with students every day. Some students received as few as five contacts a day, and other students as many as 120 contacts.[15]

Based on the results of research, the boys receive more interactions with the teacher than do the girls.[16],[17],[18],[19],[20],[21],[22] Hacher found that boys spoke more than girls.[23] Katebi found that grills in chemistry classes spoke more than boys and were more active participants. Fennema and Peterson reported that the girls and boys were engaged in 75% of classroom time.[24] In the elementary school classrooms, the time students spend engaging in academic learning tasks is directly related to how much they learn, as measured by achievement tests.[24],[25],[26],[27]

Pratton and Hales found that the difference between active participation classes compared with the nonactive participation classes in regard to class enrollment, class attendance at the time at treatment was presented and they found that the mean of the classes taught through active participation was greater than that of the classes taught without active participation.[28] Females received significantly less total communication, less praise, less negative behavior, feedback, less neutral procedure feedback, and less nonacademic feedback.[19],[22]

There is overwhelming evidence of a common pattern of interaction in classrooms best summarized in Flanders “rule” of two-third'; that is, in almost all classrooms, two-thirds of the time someone is talking and two-third of that time it is the teacher who speaks.[3],[7] Teachers speak in the classroom on the average 70% of the time. Almost all teachers give “lectures” lasting around 30 min, ask few, mostly ritualistic, “questions” and rarely address their audience directly.[2],[29]

The indirect interactions are more participatory and more typical of the types of interactions that promote the construction of concepts.[4],[30] Students of indirect teachers made better achievement scores, produced higher levels of critical thinking, and gave more active manifestations of curiosity than did students of direct teachers.[31] Trying for a flexible balance between indirect teaching and direct teaching enables the teacher to respond to the unique personality and learning of the students, and lets the teacher change the balance by measuring where the students are in the learning process and by meeting the specific and current needs of the students.[32]

Several studies have shown that just a little learning time is used for discussion.[33],[34],[35],[36] Grundstrom has stated the teachers realize that they are practicing discussing with their students as they are reciting and giving lectures, using a question–answer format,[34] and Walker noted that most of the time that teachers are talking is concerned with “lecturing,” that is, with the transmission of factual knowledge of one kind or another.[31] Although, the educational researchers and psychologists documented that the learners must be active participations in teaching–learning process, the most frequent educational means used by teachers,[34] and Colvert [2] proved that the education is supposed to be for the student, for someone else. However, when students do get to speak, it is within the restricted frame of providing answers to questions, which requires utterances of only a few words.[37]

Bressaux studied 1100 primary classroom students and 58 teachers in France and found that teacher characteristics such as year of service (teaching), school administration status, and teaching method can affect students' performance, but the interaction between teacher and students, selection of direct and indirect teaching, students' active participation, and acceptance of students' ideas affect students' performance more than the teacher characteristics.[38]

Fisher and Rickards found that the students say that good teachers have stronger leadership, kind behavior, and acceptance of students' feeling.[26] Scott found that the effective teachers used longer teaching episodes, had clear goals, and accepted student feelings.[26]

The purposes of this study were to investigate the use of direct and indirect teaching, and the amounts of teacher and student talk in mathematics, empirical sciences, and humanities in Tabriz secondary schools. The study aimed to examine below research questions:

  • Are there differences in teaching style between mathematics, empirical sciences, and humanities in Flanders interaction analysis categories (FIAC)?
  • Does the use of indirect teaching enhance students' achievement?
  • Are there differences in indirect and direct teaching styles between male and female teachers?
  • Is there any relationship between the student talk and achievement?

  Methods Top

The participants in the present study were 60 classrooms (60 teachers) and 800 students in Tabriz high schools, who were selected by multistage random sampling. The teachers who participated in this study were all volunteers. For gathering data were 10 observers for the present study – five males and five females. The observers received 5 h of training, using FIAC. The inter-observer agreement ranged from 0.85 to 1.00.

A data collector (observer) went to the classroom at the beginning of each class and sat in an unobtrusive position at the back of the classroom. Coders observed classroom interaction for 3 seconds, coded the interaction into 1 of the 10 FIAC categories, and observed for another 3 seconds. The coding lasted for 20 min.

The instrument used the present study was the FIAC.[7] The instrument was selected in that categories yield quantitative data, in that it has been widely used in the previous research studies,[39],[40],[41] and in that this instrument is suitable for Iranian educational system.

The 10 categories coded in this study were accepting the student's feelings, offering praise and encouragement, accepting and using the ideas of the student, asking questions, lecturing, giving directions, offering constructive criticism or justifying authority, student-talk-response, student-talk-initiation, and final category is identified as silence or confusion.

The 10 categories coded in this study were of three types: (a) Teacher talk, (b) student talk, and (c) silence and confusion. Teacher talk consists of two subcategories: Indirect and direct. Indirect subcategories include accepting feeling, praises or encouragements, accepting or using students' ideas, and asking questions and direct subcategories include lecturing, giving directions, and criticizing.[2],[7] Student talks consists of response and initiation talk. The other ratios of Flanders interaction analysis are showed in [Table 1].
Table 1: Flanders interaction ratio

Click here to view

The obtained data were fed into a computer using IBM SPSS 22 to analyze raw data, and the ratios were calculated based on [Table 1].

  Results Top

The results presented below are based on observing teacher and students interactions in Tabriz secondary schools.

We will first and foremost give a general view of the FIAC and then we will examine the effects of teacher sex and fields in teaching styles [Table 2].
Table 2: Means, variances and SDs of Flanders interaction analysis categories, based to the sex and field

Click here to view

Flanders interaction analysis categories and ratios

[Table 2] shows the means, variances and standard deviations of FIAC, based to the sex and field [Table 2].

[Table 3] shows the means, variances and standard deviations of teacher talk (categories 1–7), students talk (categories 8, 9), silence or confusion (category 10), and the ratio of teacher react ratio, the ratio of students talk to teacher talk, the ratio of indirect teaching to direct teaching, and ratio of ask questions to lectures [Table 3].
Table 3: The means, variances and SDs of Flanders interaction analysis categories are based to the sex and field

Click here to view

[Table 4] and [Table 5] presents the results of 10 analyzes of variance.
Table 4: The results of 10 ANOVA

Click here to view
Table 5: The results of LSD test

Click here to view


The one-way ANOVA only shows a significant difference for praises and encourages category (P< %16). The result of least significant difference (LSD) shows significant differences in three groups. Based on LSD, the humanities teachers praised or encouraged students more than the mathematics and empirical sciences teachers.

Indirect and direct talk

[Table 6] displays the results of correlations between indirect and direct talk and student achievement scores. Indirect talk is not correlated with student achievement and direct talk correlates negatively with student achievement.
Table 6: Correlations between indirect and direct talk and student achievement

Click here to view

An independent t-test shows no significant difference between male and female teachers [Table 7].
Table 7: Independent t-test between male and female teachers on indirect and direct talk

Click here to view

Student talk

Student talk includes frequencies of categories 8, 9. [Table 2] presents the means, variances, and standard deviations for student response and student initiation talk. In this paper, we examined the correlation between student talk and student achievement scores. We first examined two types of student talk and correlation with achievement, then the correlation between student talk ([the sum of categories 8, 9] total tallies × 100) and student achievement scores. [Table 6] displays the results of correlations. As [Table 8] shows, two types of student talk are correlated with the student achievement. Response talk (r = 0/46, P = 0/000), initiation talk (r = 0/72, P = 0/000), and student talk (r = 0/64, P = 0/000).
Table 8: Correlations between student talk and student achievement

Click here to view

  Discussion and Conclusion Top

This study intended to provide answers whether the teacher indirect talk enhanced student achievement or whether sex and field of teachers had any effects on teaching styles.

90.1% of classroom time is devoted to talking, and 9.9% of classroom time is spent in silence or confusion. 71.04% of classroom time is related to teacher and 19.06% of classroom time is related to students and this is not just proportional. The ratio of teachers to students in this study was 1–30, and the ratio of student talk to teacher talk is 0.26%. The mean of direct talk is 58.84% and indirect talk is 12.20% in secondary schools. The ratio of indirect talk to direct in this study was 24.40%. Flanders argues that in normal classroom settings this norm is about 50%.[2],[7] Teachers in Tabriz secondary schools accepted less student feeling, praised students less, used fewer students' ideas, and asked fewer questions. As Mosapour found, teachers in high school (secondary schools) used less indirect teaching styles.[33] It is concluded that although teachers' teaching methods based on indirect teaching styles seem to be inappropriate, it should be claimed that the teachers have benefited from observing their teachers' methods in teacher education centers and have applied not only their teachers methods but also their own experiences to classroom settings. Teachers allocated 1.21% of total teaching time for accepting student feelings, 1.55% for praises or encouragement, 1.97% for using student ideas, 7.47 for asking questions, 56.48% for giving lecture, 1.41% for giving direction, 0.44% for criticizing, 11.19% for student response-talk, 7.87% for student-initiation-talk, and 9.87% for science or confusion. The researcher reported that strong criticism of student was negatively correlated with achievement.[12],[39]

Dunkin and Biddel summarized the findings of ten studies and wrote that the teachers did not allocate more than 6% of total classroom times for praise.[20] Flanders and Simon pointed that the teacher praise and encouragement correlated positively with student positive attitude and achievement toward learning.[20] Brophy and Evertson found that the frequency of praise and encouragement usually correlated positively with student achievement, but those correlations are quite low, and are sometimes negative.[40]

The ratio of questions to lecture was 15.82%, although this ratio is less than that of Flanders' norm (25–30% in normal classroom settings),[41] but regarding Iranian educational system, this ratio is appropriate because the curriculum development in Iran is teacher-centered and centralized.

Based on the results of this study, we believe that there is too much teacher talk and not enough student talk in Tabriz secondary schools, so school teachers should be more indirect, should ask more questions and deliver fewer lectures, and in particular, should most often accept, praise and make instructional use of the ideas, and feelings expressed by their student. Flanders offered this suggestion in 1970 and it is suggested for our educational system in Iran too. Teachers use the same teaching method regardless of the field of study in Tabriz secondary schools.

Financial support and sponsorship


Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.

  References Top

Tello SF. An Analysis on the Relationship between Instructional Interaction and Student Persistence in Online Education; 2000. Available from: http://www.alnresearch. Org/data/dissertationtext/tello-Dissertation.pdf. [Last cited on 2014 Jun 05].  Back to cited text no. 1
Good TL, Brophy JE. Looking in Classrooms. 10th ed. New York: Pearson; 2007.  Back to cited text no. 2
Mahmoodi F, Fathiazar S, Esfandyari R. The investigation of the relationship between active participation of students and their academic achievement in the process of teaching. Found Educ 2010;10:65-82.  Back to cited text no. 3
Clarke D, Keitel CH, Shimizu Y. Mathematics Classrooms in Twelve Countries: The Insider's Perspective. Rotterdam: Sense Press; 2011.  Back to cited text no. 4
Bloom BS. Innocence in education. Sch Rev 1972;80:332-52.  Back to cited text no. 5
Anderson LW. Increasing Teacher Effectiveness. Paris: UNESCO; 1991.  Back to cited text no. 6
Flanders NA. Analyzing Teaching Behavior. Reading Mass: Addison-Wesley; 1970.  Back to cited text no. 7
Medley D, Mitzel H. Measuring classroom behavior by systematic observation. In: Gage N, Gage NL, editors. The Handbook of Research on Teaching. Chicago: Rand McNally; 1963.  Back to cited text no. 8
Stubbs M. Keeping in touch: Some functions of teacher talk. In: Stubbs M, Delamont S, editors. Explorations in Classroom Observation. New York: John Wiley and Sons; 1976. p. 151-72.  Back to cited text no. 9
Brophy J, Good T. Teacher behavioral and student achievement. In: Wittrock M, editor. Handbook of Research on Teaching. 3rd ed. New York: Macmillan; 1986.  Back to cited text no. 10
Doyle W. Classroom organization and management. In: Wittrock M, editor. Handbook of Research on Teaching. 3rd ed. New York: Macmillan; 1986.  Back to cited text no. 11
Rosenshine B, Furst N. The use of direct observation to study teaching. In: Travers RM, editor. Second Handbook of Research on Teaching. Chicago: Rand McNally; 1973. p. 122-83.  Back to cited text no. 12
Brophy J. Teacher influences on student achievement. In: Smith PK, Pellegrini AD, editors. Psychology of Education: Major Themes. Vol. 1. New York: Routledge Falmer; 2000.  Back to cited text no. 13
Pascarella ET, Chapman PW. A multi-institutional, path analytic validation of Tinto's model of college withdrawal. Am Educ Res J 1983;20:87-102.  Back to cited text no. 14
Jackson PW. Life in Classroom. New York: Teacher Collage Press; 1990.  Back to cited text no. 15
Duffy J, Warren K, Walsh M. Classroom interactions: Gender of teacher, gender of student, and classroom subject. Sex roles, 2002;45:579-93.  Back to cited text no. 16
Good T, Sikes J, Brophy J. Effect of Teacher Sex, Student Sex, and Student Achievement on Classroom Interaction [Technical Report 61]. Columbia, Mo: University of Missouri; 1973.  Back to cited text no. 17
Martin R. Student sex and behavior as determinates of the type and frequency of teacher-student contacts. J Sch Psychol 1972;65:238-43.  Back to cited text no. 18
Irvine JJ. Teacher communication patterns as related to the race and sex of the student. J Educ Res 1985;78:338-45.  Back to cited text no. 19
Shahabi SS. The Relationship between Personality Characteristics and Academic Achievement of Students Based on Flanders Interaction Analysis. Unpublished Master's Thesis, University of Tabriz, Tabriz, Iran; 2012.  Back to cited text no. 20
Fathi A. The Relationship between Self-Efficacy and Quality of Teaching in Tabriz' High Schools Based on Flanders Interaction Analysis. Unpublished Master's Thesis, University of Tabriz, Tabriz, Iran; 2011.  Back to cited text no. 21
Parmeh J. The Relationship between the Creativity of Teachers with their Teaching Quality Based on Flanders Interaction Analysis in Piranshahr. Unpublished Master's Thesis, University of Tabriz, Tabriz, Iran; 2014.  Back to cited text no. 22
Kuh GD, Hu S. The effects of student-faculty interaction in the 1990's. Rev High Educ 2001;24:309-32.  Back to cited text no. 23
Mahmoodi F. The Analysis of Teacher and Student Talks in Secondary Schools by Flanders Interaction Analysis System. In: 4th National Conference on Education, Tehran, Shahid Rajaee Teacher Training University, 28, 29 May; 2012.  Back to cited text no. 24
Fennema E, Peterson PL. Effective teaching for girls and boy. The same or different? In: Berliner DC, Rosenshin BV, editors. Talks to Teachers. New York: Random House; 1987.  Back to cited text no. 25
Fisher DL, Rickards T. Associations between teacher-student interpersonal behavior and student attitude to mathematics. Math Educ Res J 1998;10:3-15.  Back to cited text no. 26
Fisher CW, Berliner DC. Perspectives on instructional time. New York: Longman; 1985.  Back to cited text no. 27
Pratton J, Hales LW. The effect of active participation on student learning. J Educ Res 1986;79:210-5.  Back to cited text no. 28
Pontecorvo C. Social interaction in the acquisition of knowledge. Educ Psychol Rev J 1993;5:293-310.  Back to cited text no. 29
Hagevik RA. The impact of electronic networking on student interactions during an ant biomonitoring problem solving science investigation. Meridian 2003;6:8-17.  Back to cited text no. 30
Walker R. Time for the Demise of Classroom Research? 2002. Available from: http://www.uea.ac.uk/care/people/rw-recent-writing/tim-for-the-demise.pdf. [Last cited on 2015 May 01].  Back to cited text no. 31
Berenson G. The Art of Communication: Nurturing Resourceful and Spirited Students. Piano PedagogyForum. 1998. Available from: http://www.music.sc.edu/ea/keyboard/ppf/1.3/1.3.PPFke.html. [Last cited on 2015 May 01].  Back to cited text no. 32
Mosapour NA. Teaching methods of high school teachers in Kerman province. J Found Educ Res 1999;1:35-48.  Back to cited text no. 33
Granstorm K. Private communication between student in the classroom in relation to different classroom features. J Educ Psychol 1996;16:349-64.  Back to cited text no. 34
Goodlad JI. A Place Called School. New York: McGrow Hill; 1984.  Back to cited text no. 35
Connor J, Neubaur IC. Mrs. Schuster adopts discussion. Engl Educ 1989;21:30-8.  Back to cited text no. 36
Dillon JT. Using Discussion in Classrooms. Buckingham: Open University Press; 1995.  Back to cited text no. 37
Bressaux P. Teaching methods and verbal interactions in class [What impact on CP students?]. French Review of Education 1990;93:18-30.  Back to cited text no. 38
Rosenshine B, Stevens R. Teaching functions. In: Wittrock M, editor. Handbook of Research on Teaching. 3rd ed. New York: Macmillan; 1986.  Back to cited text no. 39
Brophy J, Evertson CM. Student Characteristic and Teaching. New York: Longman; 1981.  Back to cited text no. 40
Perrott E. Effective Teaching: A Practical Guide to Improving your Teaching. London: Longman; 1982.  Back to cited text no. 41


  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3], [Table 4], [Table 5], [Table 6], [Table 7], [Table 8]

This article has been cited by
1 Teachers’ use of class talk interaction as a predictor of learning outcomes in chemistry
Newton Irungu Mwangi,Grace Mutitu Nyagah,Mercy Muthoni Mugambi
SN Social Sciences. 2021; 1(1)
[Pubmed] | [DOI]


Similar in PUBMED
   Search Pubmed for
   Search in Google Scholar for
 Related articles
Access Statistics
Email Alert *
Add to My List *
* Registration required (free)

  In this article
Discussion and C...
Article Tables

 Article Access Statistics
    PDF Downloaded2082    
    Comments [Add]    
    Cited by others 1    

Recommend this journal