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What is needed to learn a foreign language? • A good Textbook, teacher, language school, Immersion program or experience (here or overseas) bilingual school methodology
What do I do to learn a foreign language? • • Read a lot? Speak in the FL all the time? Find a conversation partner? Repeat? Do a lot of exercises? Travel abroad (be an au pair, exchange st, etc)? Do not translate Think in the FL
What proves that I am proficient in the FL? • • • Speaking Native speaker pronunciation Writing Fluency ? ? ?
The contribuition of cultural historical activity theory (CHAT) to the field of foreign language learning and teaching Prof. Dra. Marília Mendes Ferreira [email protected] br
Question What does CHAT have to say to the field of foreign language learning and teaching ? To the teacher? To the student?
The outline of my talk • • • 1) overview of CHAT 2) answer to the question 3) research topics in the field
Vygotsky • • • lawyer philologist psychologist Specialized in Literature Concerned about solving problems
• Vygotsky aimed to study consciousness and its formation including higher mental functions • Vygotsky´s philosophical framework: Marx´historical dialectical materialism
Chat´s principles - Dialectical relationship – social ↔ mental, -external ↔ internal - Focus on development, which is investigated genetically -learning leads to development (ZPD) -language : most important pscyhological tool that raises human mental functions -cognition is socially originated and mediated by material and psychological tools.
Development • Change, control of mediational tools “mastery of new cultural tools (Stetsenko & Arievitch, 2002) “reconstruction of cultural tool´s meanings and functions , idem) “transfer of the tool to other fields” (idem)
• A change in the cognitive functions (abstract thinking, motivation, goal setting, planning of actions) idem • Personality development (motive formation) Chaiklin (2002) • To use concepts to describe and analyse problems in a discipline. (idem)
Development and FL “acquiring new conceptual knowledge and/or modifying already existing knowledge as a way of re-mediating one´s interaction with the world and with one´s own psychological functioning” (Lantolf & Thorne, 2006: 5)
“ Less obvious and less well known is the fact the foreign language influences the development of the child´s native language. (. . . ) Learning a foreign language raises the level of development of the child´s native speech. His conscious awareness of linguistic forms, and the level of his abstraction of linguistic phenomena, increases. He develops a more conscious, voluntary capacity to use words as tools of thought and as means of expressing ideas. ” (Vygotsky, 1987: 179 -80)
CHAt and FL 1) Private Speech - questions what students´ active participation in the classrom and his/her agenda of learning is(Lantolf &Yanez, 20: 03) - Is neecessary because it is mediational, cognitive but not to be taught or nurtured in the classroom as a technique. - foregrounds the regulatory function of language and the dialectical relationship between this function and the highly privileged communicative one.
2) Use of L 1 Can be positive – mediational, search for regulation Not only negative transfer Should L 1 be prohibited in the FL classroom?
• PS and use of L 1 reveal another type of linguistic behavior in the task performance (backstage): (re)orientation, metatalk, off task Often disregarded by SLA, language methods, teachers, language schools Mediational resources
“(. . . ) it [use of L 1] is a normal psycholinguistic process that facilitates L 2 production and allows the learners both to initiate and sustain verbal interaction with one another (Brooks & Donato, 1994: 268) Proibição do uso de L 1: impedir que o aluno use um instrumento de mediação para o seu aprendizado
Data Ferreira(2000) Use of L 1: To discuss grammatical issues: A: então aqui entra o a vá: acho que C: vai né? A: mineral water (0, 3) wa, water que você colocou aí?
Off task talk Pr: e to go é pra viagem Cl: to go eu quero um boyfriend to go ((risos)) ((. . . )) pra viagem ((risos)) Pr: ((. . . )) fala isso aqui ((risos)) Cl: K (aluno da sala) ((. . . )) é uma boyfriend to go pra viagem ((. . . )) ((risos))
• Private Speech (Lantolf & Yanez, 2003) T: Los relámpagos encendieron los árboles. C: Los árboles fueron encendidos por los relámpagos. S: ENCENDIDOS
3) Notion of error reviewed From lack of proficiency , acquisition to search for control, mediation “ (. . . ) errors may not be as such, but may well represent a speaker´s attempt to gain control of the task”(Frawley & Lantolf, 1985: 41)
Redefining the notion of task “(. . . ) tasks cannot be externally defined or classified on the basis of specific external features(. . . ) despite our best efforts to do so. Rather, tasks are internally constructed through the moment to moment verbal interactions of the learners during actual task performance”. Brooks & Donato, 1994: 272) authors´ underlining
5) Relationship language-thinking reviewed From faithful transmission of thinking to a dialectical relationsip between both Communicative and regulatory functions When I speak I am not transmitting my thought but I am constructing it
speaking is not the process of giving linguistic form to the message nor translating thoughts into sentences(. . . ) it is a process of finding the message by speaking (Frawley &Lantolf, 1985)
“The structure of speech is not a simple mirror image of the structure of thought. (. . . ) Speech does not merely serve as the expression of developed thought. Thought is restructured as it is transformed into speech. It is not expressed but completed in the word” (Vygotsky, 1987: 251)
7) Assessment Dynamic, constructive , leads to development It aims the future rather than to assess the past (eg: tests) Instruction and assesssment occur together Feedback as mediation
Activity-theory-based pedagogies Control of one´s own actions - Why one is doing what he/she is doing and what result will be achieved. - Aims to promote ZPD(learning that leads to development) - Focos on motive formation
Developing in a FL - Is NOT about learning structures, other names for things that we already know in our mother tongue (for example flag for bandeira, house for casa). It IS about what is behind the linguistic rules, their origins, concepts that allow a FL to be a cultural artifact, and consequently, a mediational tool to change our relationship with the world, with our L 1, with our way of thinking, with our way of controling ourselves.
[it] is about the appropriation of cultural models including conceptual metaphors, and therefore entails the use of meaning as a way of (re)mediating our psychological and, by implication, our communicative activity”. (Lantolf & Thorne, 2006: 118) Proficient sts but still using L 2 structures and words to convey conceptual knowledge of the L 1 is problematic
Definições Língua Empírica: regras , vocabulário, estruturas Conceitual: instrumento para exercer ações no mundo (não somente para se comunicar), possui relações básicas: Regra ↔ criatividade Langue – parole Competence - performance
• Escrita: Empírico: exercício de prática gramatical e vocabular, atividade descontextualizada Qual a função? ? Conceitual: não há a situação imediata como na linguagem oral As linguagens escrita e oral cumprem funções diferentes nas sociedades Escrita: clareza, sem ambiguidades, organização textual
• Gênero textual: Empírico: fórmula para escrever um texto, um modelo Conceitual: uma manifestação de linguagem com o mesmo princípio básico: tensão entre regra e criatividade
Research topics • unexplored issues : gestures in L 2 , attrition, L 2 influence in L 1 • My interests: learning and development in foreign language settings. • Research group: (more specifically academic literacy, and using activity theory pedagogy principles to promote development • Material development based on these principles
References • Brooks, F. & Donato, R. 1994. Vygotskian approaches to understanding foreign language learner discourse during communicative tasks. Hispania, 77, 2. • Frawley, W. & Lantolf, J. P. 1985. Second language discourse: a vygotskian perspective. Applied Linguistics 6, 1. • Halliday, M. 1989. Spoken and written language. Oxford. • Lantolf, J. P. & Thorne, S. 2006. Sociocultural theory and the Genesis of Second Language Development. Oxford. • Vygotsky, L. S. 1978. Mind in society. ____. 1987. Thinking and speech. Collected Works vol. 1. • Chaiklin, S. 2002. A developmental teaching approach to schooling. In: Wells, G. & Claxton, G. 2002. Learning for life in the 21 st century. Blackwell. • Stetsenko, A. & Arievitch, I. 2002. Teaching. Learning, and development: a post-Vygotskian pespective. In: Wells & Claxton.
Bibliography • Vygotsky: Collected Works or new edition published by Martins Fontes. A formação social da mente (Martins Fontes) • Modern Language Journal 1994 special issue on SCT • Lantolf, J. P. & Thorne, S. (2006). Sociocultural theory and the genesis of second language development. Oxford: Oxford University Press. • Lantolf, J. P & Poehner, M. (2008). Sociocultural theory and the teaching of languages. London: Equinox. • Jonhson, K. (2009). Second Language Teacher Education: a sociocultural perspective. London: Roudtledge.