Theories on classroom interaction

Written by terrance karter
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Theories on classroom interaction
In the classroom, interaction plays the role of binding everyone together. (computer classroom image by Christopher Meder from

Classroom interaction encompasses all types of interaction that goes on in a classroom. There are several different ways to categorise classroom interaction, but all of the types of interaction are important to engage learning and to create well rounded young people inside and outside the classroom.

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Student-Teacher Interaction

Theories behind student and teacher interaction state that this type of interaction is vital for students because it compares to the relationships they'll have in their lives, such as the relationship with a boss or superior. Students must learn to interact respectfully, but must also learn how to be assertive without being rude, so that their points and opinions are heard without disruption.

Student-Student Interaction

One-on-one student interaction is important because it allows students to understand what it means to work with a partner. Theories of this type of interaction say that it prepares students for one-on-one relationships they will have with work associates, friends and even their spouses. Students must learn to rely on one other person and must be able to evaluate what their own strengths and weaknesses are as they try to complete a task.

Small-Group Interaction

Theories behind small-group interaction speculate that this is one of the best ways for students to learn from others. In groups of three to six people, students have equal time to talk and learn to perform a role that they are assigned. They learn to depend on the other members of the group to do their own parts. They also learn that a small group must have a leader and how to incorporate different learning and working styles into a group in harmony.

Entire Classroom Interaction

Entire classroom interaction allows all students to interact with all of the other students in the classroom. This is important in several different ways, according to different theories. Students learn how it feels to be only a small part of a very large group. They need to learn to wait their turn to talk and be prepared to do much more listening than talking. Students also gain insight about different types of people and how all will react. This is the interaction that is most closely related to the real world, where students will need to interact with people of all types.

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