This thesis explores L2 classroom teacher-fronted activities organised in Initiation-Response-
Evaluation (IRE) sequences, during beginner and intermediate lessons of Italian at the University
level. More specifically, the study analyses the ways in which teachers address a variety of
pedagogical contingencies while simultaneously progressing the interaction. It is argued that the
tripartite sequential structure provides the teachers with pre-evaluative moments - here defined
as pre-Evaluation opportunity spaces - emerging between the student’s responsive move (R) and
the teacher’s third positioned evaluation (E).
The research draws upon 30 hours of video- and audio-recorded interactions from two
University Italian L2 classrooms. The study is informed by multimodal Conversation Analysis
and socio-interactional approaches to language learning. Classroom interaction is, thus, regarded
as one institutional type of social interaction and - as such - is viewed as jointly achieved by
participants, sequentially organised, and relentlessly negotiated on a moment-by-moment basis.
The findings show that the teachers regularly exploit specific IRE sequential affordances, such as
the inter-move space between the student’s responsive move and the teacher’s evaluation. In
particular, the fine-grained analysis of the teachers’ multimodal conduct uncovers how such
opportunity space arising between Response and Evaluation may be employed in order to invite
peer-correction practices, manage shifting classroom participation frameworks, distribute agency
in the L2 classroom, and orient to the omnirelevant property of sequential progressivity while
attending to concurrent institutional pressures. Furthermore, the analysis unearths how such
intra-move space might be organised through the mobilisation of different semiotic material,
such as head nods, pointing gestures, gaze, and body orientation.
The findings confirm the adaptive quality of the IRE sequence organisation as one fundamental
infrastructure that embodies the reflexive relationship between pedagogy and interaction.