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Home » XXII Sociocultural Theory & Second Language Learning Research Working Group Meeting » Abstracts: XXII Sociocultural Theory and Second Language Learning Research Working Group Meeting

Abstracts: XXII Sociocultural Theory and Second Language Learning Research Working Group Meeting


[please note that the abstracts are ordered alphabetically by last name of (first) author]


Francisca Aguiló Mora and Eduardo Negueruela Azarola

Becoming a Poet in the Language Classroom: Representation, Internalization, and Motion Events

Type of session: Data analysis

This research-in-progress explores teaching thinking in the communicative classroom. We document how engaging Spanish Second Language (L2) adult learners in the production of different kinds of graphic representations promotes the internalization of complex grammatical concepts with practical functionality in L2 communication. Data of a representative selection of intermediate L2 Spanish learners was transcribed and coded for motion events. Examples of graphic representations will be presented.

This research entails a pedagogical intervention to teach motion events (Talmy, 2000) as conceptual categories related to the communicative function of giving/asking directions. This topic connects with recent research on linguistic relativity and thinking-for-speaking (TFS) patterns (Slobin, 1996) in the field of L2 acquisition (Han & Cadierno, 2010). L2 research has documented how advanced L2 Spanish learners are still challenged when asking/giving directions (Aguiló Mora & Negueruela-Azarola, 2015).

It is proposed that Mindful Conceptual Engagement (MCE) (Negueruela Azarola, 2013) constitutes an appropriate pedagogy for promoting conceptual internalization. L2 Spanish learners who engage in MCE begin to appreciate the typological differences between Spanish/English. The key to the shift in L1 TFS patterns seems to be L2 learners engagement in pedagogical tasks that promoted conceptual manipulation. These required both the development of pedagogical materials for the teaching of motion events and active engagement by learners, such as the creation of their own conceptual representations as a learning tool to understand motion events. Findings illustrate that functional conceptual categories of meaning “grow as they are applied” (Negueruela Azarola, 2013). In this presentation, we specifically focus on learners creating different types of graphic representations.


Kimberly Buescher

Second language narrative literacy development

Type of Session: Data Analysis

The goal of this study was to contribute to the closing of the persistent and well-documented curricular gap between language and literature courses in second language (L2) pedagogy (Ad Hoc Committee on Foreign Languages, 2007, Byrnes, Maxim & Norris, 2010). Learners generally have difficulty in bridging the gap, as it requires a shift from decoding to interpreting and analyzing texts. A concept-based instructional approach (CBI) and Division-of-Labor Pedagogy (DOLP) were implemented during a twelve week pedagogical intervention aimed at developing intermediate learners’ L2 narrative literacy abilities in French. The CBI involved three theoretical concepts of L2 narrative literacy—Foundation, Organization, and Genre—as well as materializations of these concepts and practical goal-directed literacy activities. For the DOLP, the concepts were segmented into their component parts and assigned to learners of L2 French as “roles” which they prepared and shared with the other learners organized in a collective format. This allowed each learner to participate fully in the reading activity even though at the outset each learner was responsible for only a portion of the knowledge needed to read, interpret, and analyze the texts utilized in the study. Mediation was provided as needed for both individuals and the collective. The particular research questions that will be addressed in the session are the extent to which a DOLP results in learners’ appropriation and internalization of the four roles that comprise each of the three concepts (Foundation, Organization, and Genre) and how the mediation changed over time as the learners’ L2 reading ability developed. The learners’ participation in the literacy activities was audio- and video-recorded throughout the study. Detailed transcripts of the performance data for two learners (previously unanalyzed) are used to trace their development. I am seeking feedback on the analysis of data for these two questions.

Ida Chavoshan

Unanticipated student utterances and teacher contingency in an adult ESL classroom

Type of session: Praxis

This study investigates the significant role of unanticipated student utterances and teacher contingent responses in discussions of English grammar in an adult ESL classroom. In the study, the presenter argues that unanticipated student utterances implicitly demonstrate the students’ previous knowledge and understanding in their L2. That is, unanticipated student utterances are opportunities for the teacher to diagnose a student’s current level of conceptual development in the L2. Furthermore, the presenter argues that teachers can utilize contingent responses as cultural artifacts to mediate L2 grammatical production and learning. Once a teacher has diagnosed a student’s actual level of development in the L2, a teacher can contingently respond to the utterance as a way of encouraging the student toward his or her potential level of development in the L2. Thus, unanticipated student utterances are potential indications of the students’ ZPD, and contingent responses to unanticipated student utterances are a means of mediating L2 grammar production and learning by the teacher. Utilizing transcribed classroom discussions from an advanced university level grammar class, the presenter will illustrate the manner in which the teacher utilized unanticipated student utterances to diagnose her students’ current level of development in specific grammatical concepts, and through contingent responses mediated L2 production and learning of the grammatical concepts. Thus, the presenter will demonstrate the importance of a teacher’s contingent responses as a pedagogical technique for fostering L2 production, learning, and possibly, development.

Mónica Durán 

Conceptual Blending in the Second language Classroom

Type of Session: Praxis

Cultural artifacts mediate human expression (Luria, 1981). Taking a Vygotskyan perspective on the development of mental processes of representation and the internalization of conceptual categories as mediated by sociocultural activities (Vygotsky, 1986; Moran & John-Steiner, 2003), this research-in-progress focuses on the inclusion of multimodal literacies, such as visual and aural, in the L2 classroom to empower learners with deeper analytical tools when encountering metaphorical constructions in literature and audiovisual media. I introduce L2 learners to the mutually inclusive practice of reading a visual and visualizing a text by exploring domain mappings of conceptual metaphorical expressions (Lakoff & Johnson, 1980) and conceptual blending networks (Fauconnier & Turner, 2002, 2003) to deconstruct, reconstruct, and interpret metaphors and linguistic expressions in L2.

The Theory of Conceptual Blending is a pedagogically fruitful tool for the understanding of the mental operations involved in grasping and creating meaning (Fauconnier & Turner, 2002, 2003). The network conceptual integration model of the mental processes involved in expression and comprehension is a productive visual illustration-as-tool for foreign language instruction. The hypothesis is that these multimodal literacy tools mediate the L2 learner’s cognition, fostering his interpretative abilities, and opening up new perspectives for communication and creative expression in the L2.


Marília Mendes Ferreira

 Dialectical thinking about language and writing performance: learning and development in developmental teaching

Type of session: Data Analysis

V.V.Davydov´s pedagogical approach based on sociocultural and activity theories principles is known as developmental teaching (Davydov, 1988a, b, c, d; Chaiklin, 2002). It aims to promote development (motive formation and dialectical thinking) through six learning actions: problem situation question, modeling, modification of models, problem solution, monitoring and evaluation. Despite the recognition of its potentiality to education (Hedegaard, 2002; Hedegaard and Chaiklin, 2005; Lompscher, 1999; Stetsenko, 2010), Davydov´s approach has not been extensively implemented in schools or investigated by the sociocultural and activity theories community. There are few studies on developmental teaching: the pedagogical interventions reported are few and restricted to some subject matters like math (Davydov, 1990), sciences (Lomspcher, 1999) and language (Aidarova, 1982; Markova, 1979). Moreover, they tend to focus on the description of the intervention rather than on the analysis of dialectical thinking development of the students. To fill this gap, this study aims to discuss data from a pedagogical intervention based on developmental teaching to teach academic writing in English for EFL graduate students in energy. In this course, the abstract (basic relationship) about language and genre were explored. To analyze if and how students developed this form of thinking towards these concepts during the course, I am analyzing three sources of data: models, solution to language problems using models and self-evaluation. Based on this data, I would like to discuss ways to demonstrate the relationship between the development of dialectical thinking about language and writing performance more robustly. This discussion becomes timely because an empirical orientation, as the analysis reveals, leads students to less agency when using such a crucial psychological tool.


Próspero N. Garcia and Silvia Perez-Cortes 

A Conceptual Approach to Fostering Critical Language Awareness in the Heritage Language

Type of session: Data analysis

Framed within a Sociocultural Theory of Mind approach in the field of Second Language Acquisition (Lantolf & Poehner, 2014), this study seeks to explore the role of Heritage Speakers’ (HS) verbalizations in their development of the grammatical concept of aspect. Spanish HS have been documented to exhibit a considerable degree of attrition in their command of aspectual distinctions (Montrul, 2002, 2009, 2011; Montrul & Bowles, 2010; Montrul & Perpiñán, 2011; Silva-Corvalán, 1994). Although some researchers have emphasized the importance of implementing pedagogical practices fostering form-meaning connections (Cuza et al., 2013; Garcia-Frazier, 2013; Valdés, 2005), the majority of studies concerning the role of instruction in this population’s development of grammatical categories have focused on their degree of accuracy and morphological recognition (Beaudrie, 2012; Montrul, 2009, 2011; Potowski et al. 2009).

The present study qualitatively analyzes data from advanced Spanish Heritage Speakers (N=7) involved in a larger-scale project investigating the role of Concept-based Instruction (CBI) in the foreign language classroom (García, 2012). Participants’ conceptual understanding of aspectual contrasts (i.e. Preterit/Imperfect tenses) was examined over a period of 12 weeks, and consists of two types of data: written (definition and performance data) and oral production (verbalizations occurred during teacher-student interactions).

Findings suggest that participants’ verbalizations are a key factor to ascertain conceptual development in the heritage language, as well as being an insightful mediational tool to foster the development and internalization of grammatical concepts. It is proposed that verbalizations not only allow researchers to have a more comprehensive picture of HS’ development, but they also help promote a more sophisticated semantic understanding of grammatical conceptual categories in HS, fostering their control over grammatical concepts during communication


Alaska Black Hults

Harré’s Positioning Theory as Analytical Tool in Vygotskian SCT Research

Type of session: Theoretical

This working paper argues that positioning theory (Van Langenhove & Harré, 1994) remains a useful analytical tool in assessing the development of stereotype and stigma shift in mainstream teachers participating in SCT-based professional development for teaching ELLs in the regular classroom. It aims to contribute to the discussion of Vygotskian Praxis as a means of addressing inequality in the education of culturally and linguistically diverse students and will draw from discussions in Lantolf and Poehner’s (2014) Sociocultural Theory and the Pedagogical Imperative in L2 Education.

At both the macrocultural and local levels, stereotypes and stigma are evident in language and practice. While the nature of stereotype makes it impossible to eradicate, stereotypes about certain perceived types of students and any attendant stigma has an effect on the instruction provided to that student group—and exacerbated by stereotype threat (Steele & Aronson, 1995)—on the students’ performance. Therefore, mediating new understandings of conventional stereotypes held by educational professionals offers the potential of shifting their perceptions of students’ specific capabilities, and in turn, the instruction provided to students.

In the author’s work with teachers of English Language Learners (ELLs) who work in rapid-influx schools (i.e., the percentage of ELLs has increased dramatically in a short period of time), evidence of the appropriation of essential understandings of second-language development concepts and methods (Lucas, Villegas, & Freedson-Gonzalez, 2008) has been accompanied by evidence of stereotype shifts and the reduction of attendant stigmas related to specific students. The stereotype shifts and reduction of attendant stigmas are evident using positioning theory as an analytical tool. Understanding positioning theory as a way to assess micro-development in stereotype shift and stigma reduction in a professional development context offers the possibility of more effective mediation of a participant-teacher’s understanding of a specific student’s linguistic development.


Paolo Infante 

A Learner’s Demonstration of Conceptual Understanding through Extending the Scope of a Symbolic Tool

Type of session: Data analysis

Vygotsky reasoned that instructional activity organized around the notion of mediation has the potential to transform education from a process exclusively focused on the transmission of information to a transformative practice, promoting learner “creativity” and “flexibility” (Holodynski, 2013; Lantolf and Poehner, 2014). Instructional activities that engender development necessitate both systematic (or what Vygotsky termed ‘scientific’) representations of academic concepts in conjunction with verbal mediation rendering the meaning potentials of concepts more accessible to learners.

Vygotsky’s (1978, 1987) insights on the important role of scientific concepts as symbolic tools to mediate higher mental thinking are captured by Gal’perin’s (1992) Systemic Theoretical Instruction (STI) framework. STI provides a structured academic program to promote learner internalization of conceptual knowledge using material artifacts, including graphic representations (Haenan, 2001). Verbal mediation is assigned an equally important role in the STI program, as it offers learners opportunities to co-regulate the planning, execution and evaluation of actions in the presence of a mediator and arrive at a deeper understanding of the meanings carried by STI materials.

Notable outcomes of instructional activity from this perspective may result in learners gaining greater control over their own thinking and their use of focal concepts in performance. Furthermore, successful learner internalization of STI materials may potentially lead to learners extending the original scope of the symbolic tool to encompass graphic representations not previously presented to the learner. This paper discusses one L2 learner’s ability to extend the scope of STI materials that focus on the English tense-aspect system. The STI L2 English writing program was intended to develop the conceptual understanding and practical application of said concepts. Particular attention is given, but not limited to, the role that mediator-learner interactions and educational tasks play in learner ability to extend the scope of the pedagogical tool.

Lindsey Kurtz 

Reading for thinking: Systemic theoretical instruction in the second language legal classroom

Type of session: Theoretical

International Masters of Law (LL.M.) students at U.S. law schools face a daunting task — studying the U.S. legal system in a second language while already holding a first law degree in their home legal systems. The small body of empirical research on legal reading and reasoning focuses exclusively on L1 J.D. students who have no prior legal learning and does not report positive learning gains for this population. There is no reason to believe that international students attempting to internalize a second legal reasoning system in a second or additional language will fair better than domestic J.D. students have with traditional pedagogy. Vygotskian sociocultural theory is uniquely positioned to serve the needs of the international LL.M. student population as it tasks educators with providing high-quality explicit instruction and mediation while simultaneously requiring that educators account for the cultural ways of thinking and reasoning the students enter the classroom with. This presentation will briefly introduce the context and approach of my dissertation. The dissertation uses principles from Gal’perin’s Systemic Theoretical Instruction present legal reading and analogical reasoning to students conceptually and then engage students in activities designed to mediate their reading of case law and the use of analogical reasoning in interpreting texts in the U.S. common law system. Data collection will be ongoing at the time of the presentation, so preliminary classroom mediation data will be presented. Discussion of the mediation and how students may be observed using analogical reasoning as a tool for thinking while engaging with legal texts will be solicited. The data will be discussed in terms of analysis for the write-up and any implications the presented data may have for the conclusion of the data collection.


Kyoko Masuda and Angela Labraca 

A combined sociocultural theory and usage-based approach to presenting Japanese polysemous particles

Type of session: Data Analysis

Recent L2 studies have explored the implementation of a usage-based approach in the classroom (cf., Cs?b 2004, Lam 2008, Tyler et al. 2010, Tyler 2012, White 2012). Adding to this line of research, Masuda and Labarca (forthcoming) have examined the effects of usage-based instruction supported by the use of schematic presentations and explanations of more prototypical and less prototypical usage when teaching Japanese polysemous particles to English-speaking college students (N=28). Following basic tenets of Sociocultural Theory (SCT), it was equally necessary to explore the interaction between peers, given the role shared activity plays in concept development (Lantolf 2010). In the current study, we analyze students’ perception of such innovative teaching and pair-work activities from a Vygotskian SCT perspective. When students’ perceptions – comments and recorded pair exchanges or ‘languaging’– are analyzed together, one begins to realize how schematic diagrams as well as guided activities had differential effects on student progress and longer retention. Such in-depth analysis profits from examining data in conjunction with student perceptions, comments and recorded pair exchanges. Since language is a powerful mediational tool (Vygotsky 1986), it was essential to analyze its quality while students were completing challenging tasks. Our presentation will conclude with a discussion why new assimilative development in both SCT and the usage-based approach is advantageous for informing foreign or L2 language classroom practices.


Steve McCafferty

 An exploration of consciousness and its role in SCT and SL development

Type of session: Theoretical

As a psychologist, Vygotsky did not believe in dualistic portrayals of thinking, learning, and doing as separate from feeling, imagining, and experiencing as found within cultural historical frames of activity. His unit of analysis, perezhivanie, was meant to incorporate all of these dimensions of human development and consciousness. What are the implications for this view of personhood in relation to SL development?


Kimi Nakatsukasa, Gale Stam and Benjamin White 

Gesture and Preposition Learning

Type of session: Data Analysis

The goal of this study is to examine the relationship between gestures and language learning by bringing in the findings from educational psychology studies which overall reported that seeing gestures and gesturing assist children’s cognitive development (e.g. Goldin-Meadow, Kim, & Singer, 1999). In the field of SLA, researchers have reported some facilitative functions of gestures on L2 learning with regards to learners’ comprehension, vocabulary and expression learning, and conversation strategies, to name a few (e.g. Allen, 1995, 1999; Gullberg, 2010; Tellier, 2008). However, more empirical studies are needed to fully understand to what extent teachers’ and learners’ gestures may or may not facilitate SLA. This intervention study was designed to investigate whether or not seeing an instructor gesture and seeing an instructor gesture and gesturing themselves results in learners’ better understanding of the prototypical and extended (temporal) meaning of the English prepositions at, in, and on.

A total of 50 intermediate ESL learners in five different classes participated in the study. The data collection and intervention involved three phases. During phase 1, students filled out a background questionnaire, and completed a pretest: (1) a preposition cloze test where they explained why they chose the prepositions they did, and (2) a scheduling task in which groups of two or three produced spontaneous use of temporal prepositions. A subset of learners’ (n=25) interaction was videotaped. A week later, during phase 2, students received a 100-minute intervention in class. The pedagogical treatment followed a concept-based approach (Lantolf & Thorne, 2006) to the instruction of prepositions. Students were exposed to the core concepts of at, in, and on through visuals (Larsen-Freeman & Celce-Murcia, 2015; Lindstomberg, 2010) and gesture. The students were given an immediate post-test (the same two tasks as the pre-test except a different version) in their next class meeting.   During phase 3, four weeks later, a delayed post-test was given.

During our session we will share our preliminary analysis of the data and seek feedback on the question about the relationship between gesturing prepositions and conceptualization of the meaning of prepositions using the data set of student-student interaction and learners’ reasoning for choosing prepositions in the cloze-test.


Jane Nolan 

‘Scaffolding’ Second Language (L2) Academic Writing using SCT and Systemic Functional Linguistics

Type of session: Data Analysis

Vygotsky’s theory of mind is generally perceived to be compatible with SFL, both viewing language as key to the mediation of cognition, the two together casting a powerful, theoretical spotlight on both the social and linguistic processes involved in L2 learning. This doctoral study, in progress, aims to explore how introducing SFL and register as a tool for analysing genre and the language of texts, together with scaffolded collaboration on an authentic meaning-making academic writing task, could assist the development and internalisation of both language and academic writing knowledge for students on a 10-week Pre-Masters EAP course in the UK. As students took part in the classroom activities, the group interaction and mutual scaffolding as they planned, and co-constructed their texts was audio and video recorded, thus making visible the processes involved in understanding, thinking and talking explicitly about structuring and making meaning in text. This experience and knowledge then fed into individual student production of texts on a similar task, enabling analysis of both the process and product of the interaction.

Both SCT and SFL take the position that language cannot be understood in the absence of context. In an attempt to capture the complexity of socially situated activity and learning, a holistic framework for analysing the context, interaction and development of students’ writing on multiple levels and dimensions is presented for discussion in this paper:

  1. A linguistic SFL analysis of the students’ discourse and writing in terms of the topics, relationships and how speakers communicate
  2. A qualitative two-stage analysis of:
  • patterns of interaction, such as approach to and engagement with the task, to develop concept categories
  • a detailed micro-level analysis of the functional purposes, cognitive and social processes in the interaction and talk, verified with time and frequency counts of different types of episode.

Matt Poehner and Merrill Swain

L2 development as cognitive-affective process

Type of session: Theoretical

One of Vygotsky’s most well known proposals, the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) may be understood as joint activity marked by struggle and tension between task demands and learner current abilities. Previous ZPD research has emphasized the importance of teacher (mediator) contributions to guiding learners toward new levels of psychological functioning. Following Vygotsky (1987), we critique such work for its separation of the cognitive and affective domains and indeed its neglect of the latter. We argue that this bias is paralleled in SLA research that either implicitly assumes the affective is unimportant to L2 processing or that situates it as variables (i.e., individual differences). As a potential way forward, we point to the model of Mediated Learning developed by Reuven Feuerstein in his work with learners with special needs. Closely aligned with the ZPD, Mediated Learning compels us to understand learner frustration, confusion, and feelings of competence and joy as integral to L2 development, shaping learner orientation to tasks, receptiveness to mediation, and sense of self as a user of the L2. Viewed in this light, each of these dimensions moves from the periphery to become legitimate foci for L2 education and research. We tie our discussion to examples of mediators and learners engaged in ZPD activity.


Tianyu Qin and Remi A. van Compernolle 

Dynamic assessment of implicature comprehension in L2 Chinese

Type of session: Data Analysis

This on-going study aims to use a dynamic assessment (DA) approach to evaluating comprehension of implicature in second language (L2) Chinese. Conversational implicature is defined by Grice (1975) as the indirect meaning drawn from the context of an utterance and knowledge of how conversation works. To date, a number of studies in the field of interlanguage pragmatics have assessed L2 learners’ ability to identify implicature through linguistic and contextual cues (e.g., Rover, 2005; Taguchi, 2009b; Taguchi, Li, & Liu, 2013). However, studies with valid interpretations of the process of comprehension and its development are underrepresented. Most current tests of pragmatic competence as well as instruments used for research data collection capture learner performance in a momentary snapshot without probing further into response processes and underlying sources of difficulty. The DA implicature test seeks to simultaneously diagnosis emerging learner abilities and promote their further growth during the test.

A Chinese pragmatics listening test was designed based on instruments used in a previous study of indirect speech acts (Taguchi et al, 2013). Indirect speech acts require comprehension of an implied rather than an explicit meaning, and can therefore be challenging for language learners. The current test includes 15 indirect refusal items as the main focus, plus an addition 8 transfer items targeting indirect opinions aiming to gauge learners’ abilities to transcend the demands of one DA task (see Poehner, 2007). Indirect opinions are more difficult to comprehend because they call upon a wider range of efforts and strategies than indirect refusals (Taguchi, 2005a). The test will be administered to around 15 intermediate level college students of Chinese respectively. Interventions will be provided in line with participants’ actual needs, and the designed criterion-referenced rubrics will be applied for measurement. A proposed finding is that DA could serve as an effective tool to illuminate learners’ comprehension process and promote their pragmatic development.

Goals of the session

  1. To present our study on the DA implicature test
  2. To receive feedback from the audience on the sections of the design, administration, criterion-referenced rubrics, and validity of the test


  1. Brief presentation of the on-going research study (20 min)
  2. Group discussion with focus on substantive discussion and brainstorming on how to administer the test and include mediating prompts (40 min)



Alex Rosborough  

Pre-K Social and Emotional Relationships: Is it Perezhivanie?

Type of session: Data Analysis

The purpose of this research is to address how socio-emotional experiences in pre-K classrooms, including contingencies and constraints for second language learners, contribute to topics such as shared-intentionality, meaning-making, and perhaps intersubjectivity. Concerning these areas, Vygotsky (1997) implemented the concept of perezhivanie as a term that combines or synthesizes all the historical moments of a child’s life with the teaching-learning activity at hand. Somewhat similar to his Zone of Proximal Development, Vygotsky’s perezhivanie focuses on the importance of a child’s emotions and imaginations during construction of the meaning-making activity (Valsineer & Van der Veer, 2000). In an abbreviated definition, perezhivanie is defined as emotional experience; however, depending on context and meditational process, perezhivanie takes on differing definitions making it a somewhat challenging concept to apply to second language learning (Swain, 2012).

Vygotsky’s work concerning perezhivanie may be deemed “underdeveloped” in that he didn’t complete his description of how to study this concept during activity (Gonzalez Rey, 2011). One of our main questions is how to implement a method for studying teacher-child interaction, including their perezhivanie-type experiences. Concerning a sociocultural theoretical approach to this concept, materialization of the emotional experience in a meaning-making process should be observable (Gal’perin, 1992). How then can this concept be identified (materialized) and displayed for analysis? As there are multiple definitions and nuances concerning perezhivanie, how do we establish a method for identifying it in interactions between young children and teachers? Of importance is the role of emotional experience (perezhivanie type) activities as central and not peripheral to language learning

This praxis session will include time for discussion of theoretical definitions of perezhivanie and application/analysis of data clips from English Learners in pre-school classrooms.


Ana Paula Santos 

The role of children’s private speech learning English in a bilingual international school

Type of session: Data analysis

Private speech, according to Wertsch (1980), is defined as a private dialog that the individual promotes with himself and its function lies in the necessity of self-regulation, self-guidance and self-reflection. Private speech of children and adults has been extensively studied by McCafferty (1994), Berk & Spuhl (1995), Fernyhough & Russell (1997), Krafft & Berk (1998), Winsler, Carlton, Barry (2000), Manfra & Winsler (2006), Smith (2007), Day & Smith (2013) and others. In Brazilian researches, a gap could be identified regarding the study of private speech in teaching-learning process for children because language is considered only a source for communication. In this study, fourteen children between four and five years old in a bilingual international school were voice and video recorded during the activities of “circle time” and “phonics”. According to the data collected, it is being verified how private speech occurs, what is its function and frequency. In the quantitative analysis, each speech was considered an utterance of private speech in order to count which child produced more private speech. However, in the qualitative analysis there is the necessity to consider the environment of the child in order to describe when private speech occurs, its function and frequency. For instance, there are students that are exposed to three or more languages at the same time at home and at school, some only speak English at school and Brazilian Portuguese at home and others speak English and Brazilian Portuguese at home and at school. How can I describe the role of private speech considering that student A had more private speech than student B if they do not are exposed to the same environment and do not have the same difficulties when learning the sounds, how to read and write in the activities of “circle time” and “phonics”?


Paul J. Thibault 

Learning as Values-Realizing Interactivity: Embodied Learning Selves and Vygotsky’s ‘psychological tool’ in Multimodal Learning Situations

Type of session: Data Analysis

Student learning is a hot topic in tertiary education circles these days. Against a backdrop of significant global change in higher education, it is not always clear what words like ‘learning’ and ‘learner’ mean. It is important for educationalists to understand learning as it actually occurs in real-time learning situations and to understand it in relation to the cultural changes—not always positive—that inform higher education in the era of neoliberal capitalism. Rather than the transmission of disembodied information, the socio-cognitive dynamics of learning is inextricably tied up with and affected by bodily dynamics, feelings, cultural and semantic patterns, and the affordances and artefacts of the learning environment. Building on recent theories of socially distributed, embodied-embedded cognition, ecological psychology, human interactivity, microgenesis, and multimodal event analysis, this paper examines how the learner enacts a learning self in his/her interactivity with the changing affordances of the dynamic, time-extended learning situation and the diverse time scales that are interwoven in particular occasions of learning. I will suggest some important connections between Vygotsky’s (1997) idea of ‘psychological tool’ and Gibson’s concept of ‘affordance’ in the light of more recent developments mentioned above in the development of the learning self. The paper considers human learning as an embodied, multimodally rich, and culturally saturated form of values-realizing interactivity. Video recorded data of student tutorial sessions will be an essential part of the discussion.


C. Cecilia Tocaimaza-Hatch 

Vocabulary mediation and development in NS-NNS interactions

Type of session: Data Analysis

From a sociocultural theory perspective, language in interaction mediates L2 learning (García & Asención, 2001; Storch, 1999; Swain, 1985). Several studies have researched how mediation occurs when a more able partner provides assistance that is attuned to a leaner’s needs during formal learning settings (e.g., Ableeva & Lantolf , 2011; Poehner, 2007). This study contributes to the literature on mediation, particularly on L2 vocabulary development, by describing how mediation emerges in naturalistic interactions between L2 learners and native speakers (NS).

Seven Spanish L2 learners were enrolled in an advanced conversation course. As part of a course assignment, each learner met with a NS for five 15 minute interviews. Each conversation was recorded and transcribed by the L2 learner. After each interview, learners completed an introspective analysis of their conversation in which they reflected on their learning during the task. Two months after the last interview, learners completed an individualized vocabulary assessment. Each assessment was built on lexical language related episodes (LLREs) extracted from learner’s interviews. Ethnographic techniques were applied to the analysis of the data, including learners’ interactions, learning reflections, and individualized lexical assessments. Findings showed that (1) four NS naturally provided mediation on lexical questions while three NS did not, unless they were asked to do so by the L2 learner; (2) mediation followed scaffolding patterns such as simplifying lexical complexity (e.g., replacing low frequency terms with high frequency ones) or modeling the target word in context; (3) although quantity and quality of lexical mediation varied in each dyad, individualized vocabulary assessments demonstrated that learners recalled an average of 90% of LLRE targets.

In conclusion, this study describes lexical mediation in NS-L2 interactions outside classroom settings. It also shows evidence of vocabulary development despite varying degrees of mediation during interaction. Pedagogical implications address vocabulary mediation and development rooted in naturalistic interactions.


German Vargas 

Critical Digital Pedagogy: a Design-based Approach for Mapping, Mediating, and Assessing Learning

Type of session: Methodology

In this presentation, I will share a series of language-oriented, culturally-responsive, integrated learning experiences created under a pedagogical model called critical digital pedagogy. This model, which is also currently in development, is an attempt to integrate sociocultural theories of learning (Vygotsky, 1978, 1986) and discourse (Bakhtin, 1981, 1986), critical pedagogy (Freire, 2970, 2003; Gounari, 2009), and complementary research in learning technology (Barab, 2007) and instructional design (Reigeluth, 1983, 1999; Reigeluth and Carr-Chellman, 2009; ). On one level, the designs to be presented include instructional materials and activities as well as dynamic and traditional assessment strategies suitable for high school and early-college classrooms. On a more overarching level, they include meta-data and information architecture frameworks needed to facilitate digitally-mediated teaching and learning in the indicated settings. The “digital humanities” (Hirsch, 2012) have been chosen as the general curricular theme for these sample designs. This was done to avoid the preconceived pedagogical constraints that accompany traditional, narrowly-defined, and/or specialized academic disciplines. Having an integrated theme also helps show how critical digital pedagogy relies on rigorous mapping of the diverse discourses, transformations, and forms of knowledge that underlie a given learning experience to collect evidence of how learners development in multiple socioculturally-understood areas of cognition, such as critical reflection or dialogic expression, at the same time as they pursue more traditional educational goals, such as second language acquisition or improving their academic writing. In closing, the potential applications of the design methodology behind these sample experiences will be briefly discussed. Participants will then be asked to consider whether the experiences presented and the design principles behind them are capable of legitimately mapping, mediating, and assessing learning as outlined in the presentation. Another anticipated topic of discussion would be additional or alternative design ideas.