EFL Classroom Discourse in Iranian Context: Investigating Teacher Talk Adaptation to Students’ Proficiency Level

Document Type : Research Paper


1 Payame Noor University, Tehran

2 Payam-e-Noor University, Tehran


How language teachers talk is a key factor in organizing and facilitating learning specifically in language classrooms where the medium of instruction is also the subject matter. This study aimed to examine the extent and ways of teacher talk adaptation to students’ proficiency levels in the Iranian EFL context. Two EFL teachers who were teaching three different proficiency levels were observed and recorded. They were also interviewed to see if they would make any conscious effort to adapt to their students’ proficiency level. Furthermore, the students of the same classes were interviewed for the comprehensibility of their teachers’ talk. Data were analyzed for four major areas of adaptation including speech rate, vocabulary, syntax, and discourse. The results showed that teachers’ adaptation to students’ level does happen clearly for elementary students, but the adaptation boundary between the intermediate and advanced levels is fuzzy. The findings also indicated that in spite of what they think, teachers’ talk is not tuned to elementary students’ understanding.