Language and Sociocultural Theory, Vol 2, No 2 (2015)

Mediated Development: Inter-psychological activity for L2 education

Matthew E. Poehner, Paolo Infante
Issued Date: 30 Jul 2015

Abstract


L2 Vygotskian research has turned increasingly toward the design of educational practices to promote learner development. Two important strands of work that have emerged are Systemic Theoretical Instruction (STI), wherein L2 curricula are organized around linguistic concepts, and Dynamic Assessment, emphasizing mediators and learners engaged in what Vygotsky described as inter-psychological activity. This paper examines processes of mediator-learner interaction in the context of an STI program targeting learner understanding of the English tense-aspect system. Importantly, the focus of interaction was not to diagnose learner L2 abilities but to introduce specially designed pedagogical materials, or tools. The framework of Mediated Learning, developed by Reuven Feuerstein through his work with learners with special needs, guided the approach taken to joint mediator-learner functioning. Close analysis of transcribed mediator-learner interactions point to processes through which materials come to function as tools and the importance of the social relation created by mediators and learners.

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DOI: 10.1558/lst.v2i2.26982

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