Promoting self-discovery appears to be a general relevancy oriented to by participants not only in ordinary conversation (Schegloff et al., 1977) but also in various sorts of institutional encounters (e.g., Edwards & Stokoe, 2007). The push for self-repair, for example, is considered an important learning activity which may be inhibited or retarded by other-repair (van Lier, 1988; Ohta, 2000). The aim of this paper is to investigate the complexities of the practices utilized to accomplish promoting self-discovery in the language classroom. Based on a conversation analytic account of 30 hours of audio and video-recorded adult ESL (English as a Second Language) lessons, I show two ways in which promoting self-discovery may become problematic in its implementation. I argue that language instructors need to be sensitized to the delicate balance between promoting self-discovery and providing interactionally contingent help.
©2015 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston