Exploring Teacher-Student Interaction in a Synchronous Online Modality: A Critical Discourse Analysis


  • Marlon S. Pontillas College of Arts and Sciences Camarines Sur Polytechnic Colleges, Camarines Sur, Philippines


Online education, Critical Discourse Analysis, IRF model, language-power dynamics, virtual classroom interactions


The rise of online education, prompted by challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, has revolutionized the education landscape and challenged the traditional norms and communications that have characterized communication in the education sector. This research, drawing on the interplay between Critical Discourse Analysis and Sinclair’s IRF model, peers into how language power is played out in cyberspaces of a virtual classroom. The study traces language’s hidden yet palpable influence in shaping power relations through an examination of various online engagements. Findings from the study show that teachers use rhetorical questions and affirmations to guide discussions and retain power based on Sinclair’s IRF model. On the other hand, Wodak’s CDA framework brings out the hidden power dimensions that lie unnoticed in language, which seems inclusive but seeks control. The outcome confirms how language influences power dynamics when teachers use linguistic strategies to shape narratives and dictate conversations. The study reveals strategies instructors utilize in General Education courses at Camarines Sur Polytechnic Colleges, Philippines. While appearing democratic, rhetorical questions and affirmations maintain the teacher’s authority as they help create an illusion of equality. The paper emphasizes the necessity of understanding language-power interplay in online education and advocates for including a course component devoted to language and power dynamics in teacher professional development programs. This awareness creates inclusive environments in online learning spaces where various voices are recognized, encouraging shared knowledge development. This research illuminates the intricate nature of language and power, laying the foundation for informed online learning teaching practices.