Communication in Mixed-Sex Groups Among Singapore Secondary School Students

Teo Jing Hwa

English Language Honours AE, NIE, 1997


This study examines the use of questions and interruptions by Singapore secondary school students. The use of these conversational devices are analysed according to their functions within the discourse contexts. The functions are broadly categorised into cooperative, non-cooperative and assertive groups. The focus of the study is to find out whether the female students play the facilitating, supportive and passive role in conversations more than the male students. It is hypothesised that the females students are more supportive and active in facilitating the conversations than the male students. Besides this, they are also passive, not voicing their opinions. In order to test the hypotheses, conversations among students Farfield Methodist Secondary School were recorded and transcribed. The findings show that the majority of the females students played the facilitating and supportive role more actively than the male students. However, there is little evidence to show that the female students were passive during the conversations. Instead, it is found that they were as assertive as the male students in voicing their opinions.