Journal of Applied Linguistics and Professional Practice, JAL Vol 4, No 3 (2007)

‘With a little help from my friends’? Theory of learning in applied linguistics and SLA

Lars Sigfred Evensen
Issued Date: 14 Sep 2015


Theory of learning is still a contested area in applied linguistics, particularly so in the field of Second Language Acquisition. As a sociocultural framework is gradually gaining momentum, it is time to move towards a deeper understanding. More specifi- cally, it may be time to discuss our conceptions of Vygotsky in this context. Did his emphasis on social context exclude the role of individual learners, or can his multiplane approach be useful for understanding even cognitive or neurological aspects of learning? This article argues that a more considerate, and less confrontational understanding of Vygotsky may reopen several controversial issues for investigation and discussion, and simultaneously shed new light on issues that have been marginalized as new theoretical perspectives have replaced older ones. One of the controversial issues concerns the relation between social and individual aspects of learning. One of the marginalized issues is Krashen’s notion of i+1, where Vygotsky’s approach makes new specification possible. This article discusses a range of controversial and marginalized issues, arguing that Vygotsky may play a more extensive and profound role for our understanding of language learning than has so far been widely assumed.

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DOI: 10.1558/japl.v4i3.333


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