This research focuses on dinner conversations in family-style group care. Children, who cannot live with their biological families anymore, are given shelter in these family-style group care settings. For the development of an attachment relationship between children and their Professional Foster Parents (PFPs), it is important that the children feel that they are listened to in order to get an affective and intimate relationship with the parents. In this conversation-analytic research we analysed PFPs’ involvement in multiple activities simultaneously, namely listening and eating, which is referred to as ‘multi-activity’. The analyses have shown systematic ways in which PFPs coordinate their involvement in the activities of ‘doing’ listening and eating, which are (i) when parents avert their gaze from the telling child, they break the social rule which states that hearers need to look at speakers during the telling. We found that when averting their gaze, PFPs do head nods and linguistic means or positioning their bodies in the direction of the telling child. This research contributes to knowledge about interaction between adolescents and PFPs. It further contributes to knowledge about how human beings are able to coordinate multiple activities simultaneously.
This is the accepted version (post-print) of the article.