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Sociocultural Theory and the Teaching of Second Languages

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L.S. Vygotsky, the renowned Russian psychologist, argued that the true test of any scientific theory is not the contribution it makes to our understanding of the object of study but the extent to which it improves the concrete practical activities of people, including those that take place in educational settings. The fourteen original chapters included in the present volume document innovations in second and foreign language teaching that are rooted in Vygotsky’s theory of cognitive development. Researchers and language teaching practitioners will find implementations at the classroom and programmatic levels of Vygotskian principles and concepts, including cognitive mediation, the zone of proximal development, activity theory, internalization, verbalization, and materialization.

Published: Jul 1, 2008

Book Contributors


Section Chapter Authors
List of contributors James P. Lantolf, Matthew E. Poehner
List of figures James P. Lantolf, Matthew E. Poehner
List of tables James P. Lantolf, Matthew E. Poehner
Introduction to Sociocultural Theory and the Teaching of Second Languages James P. Lantolf, Matthew E. Poehner
Part 1: Mediation and the Zone of Proximal Development
1 Both Sides of the Conversation: The Interplay between Mediation and Learner Reciprocity in Dynamic Assessment Matthew E. Poehner
2 The effects of dynamic assessment on L2 listening comprehension Rumia Ableeva
3 Changing Examination Structures within a College of Education: The Application of Dynamic Assessment in Pre-service ESOL Endorsement Courses in Florida Tony Erben, Ruth Ban, Robert Summers
4 A dialogic Approach to Teaching L2 Writing Holbrook Mahn
5 Embodied Language Performance: Drama and the ZPD in the Second Language Classroom John Haught, Steven McCafferty
6 Agency in the Classroom Leo van Lier
Part II: Concept-based instruction
7 Revolutionary Pedagogies: Learning that Leads (to) Second Language Development Eduardo Negueruela-Azarola
8 French as a Second Language: University Students Learn the Grammatical Concept of Voice: Study Design, Materials Development, and Pilot Data Sharon Lapkin, Merrill Swain, Ibtissem Knouzi
9 Mediation as Objectification in the Development of Professional Academic Discourse: A Corpus-informed Curricular Innovation Steven Thorne, Jonathon Reinhardt, Paula Golombek
10 A Concept-based Approach to Teaching: Writing through Genre Analysis Marilia Ferreira, James P. Lantolf
11 Materializing Linguistic Concepts through 3-D Clay Modeling: A Tool-and-Result Approach to Mediating L2 Spanish Development Maria Serrano-Lopez, Matthew E. Poehner
Part III: The Classroom-World Nexus
12 The Unfulfilled Promise of Teaching for Communicative Competence: Insights from Sociocultural Theory Sally Magnan
13 Contribution and Language Learning: Service-learning from a Sociocultural Perspective Howard Grabois
End Matter
Index James P. Lantolf, Matthew E. Poehner

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