This research employs an ethnographic approach to examine teacher-student interaction in English-major classrooms in a Chinese university. It involves two teachers and their respective classes. The data was collected through classroom observing, audio- and video-taping, oral report, interviewing and stimulated reflection across a two and a half month period. Informed by Vygotsky s (1978) sociocultural theory which puts talk at the core of successful teaching and learning, the analysis presented explores the patterns of interaction established in the two classes and learning opportunities embedded in them through the way the teachers interacted with their students. The implications of this research are far-reaching. First, it is pioneering work in that it looks at teacher-student interaction from a sociocultural perspective which is unheard-of in China; second, as far as teachers are concerned, it suggests directions for change in their practices. Yet for radical changes in their practices to occur, teachers need to modify the theoretical beliefs which underlie their practices. Seen in this view, this project is likely to bring about a different type of teaching.