Pragmatics and Pedagogy: Conversational Rules and Politeness Strategies May Inhibit Effective Tutoring


In this article, we identify ways that Grice's (1975) conversational rules and P. Brown and Levinson's (1987) politeness strategies are commonly employed in one-to-one tutoring interactions. We examined two cross-aged tutoring corpora from research methods and algebra tutoring sessions to show how these rules and strategies can potentially enhance and inhibit effective tutoring. Examples of these costs and benefits are presented within a five-step dialogue frame proposed by Graesser and Person (1994). There appear to be differences in the use of these politeness strategies when algebra tutoring protocols are compared with research methods protocols. We suggest that politeness strategies are more prevalent in less constrained domains, even though their use may inhibit effective tutoring. © 1995, Taylor & Francis Group, LLC. All rights reserved.

Publication Title

Cognition and Instruction