ForumVol. 16, No. 2 (2016)

Contribution with Hand-Raising in Graduate Student Self-Selection: Bringing Legitimacy to the Focal Shift of Talk

Junko Takahashi

Teachers College, Columbia University


Hand-raising is an extremely useful device for classroom self-selection. According to Sahlström (2002), it exhibits a student’s willingness to participate, and is a means by which to attract the attention of the teacher. Kawabe, Yamamoto, Aoyagi, and Watanabe (2014) analyzed various situations and student factors to affect hand-raising in the classroom. The practice of hand-raising is generally found to occur at the teacher’s turn transition relevant places, or TRPs (Sacks, Schegloff, & Jefferson, 1974). The conventional process of self-selection with hand-raising involves a student bidding for a nomination, and the self-selector becoming ratified to speak after the teacher nomination is provided. It was also suggested that later bidders tend to be selected more frequently than the first bidders, who may raise their hands slightly prior to the teacher’s early TRPs. Thus, “teachers may reward the late hand-raisers for sufficient listening” (Sahlström, 2002, p. 53-54).