Language and Sociocultural Theory, Vol 3, No 2 (2016)

Explicit focus on meaning: Mindful conceptual engagement in the second language classroom

Eduardo Negueruela-Azarola, Antoni Fernandez Parera
Issued Date: 9 Feb 2017


Against the backdrop of discussions in instructed SLA concerning form-focused versus meaning-focused L2 instruction, a framework we refer to as Mindful Conceptual Engagement (MCE) is proposed as a feature of Vygotskian concept-based instruction. In this paper, specific attention is given to the pragmatic relevance of ser/estar in Spanish discourse. The implementation of the MCE approach to teaching concepts starts with the development of pedagogical materials for the teaching of communicative issues, in this case, normativity. It also requires active engagement by learners in reflective activities, such as the creation of their own conceptual representations as a learning tool to understand ser/estar through the notion of normativity. Data from beginning L2 Spanish learners are presented to illustrate how engaging them in the production of different kinds of graphic representations and verbalizations promotes the internalization of complex grammatical concepts with practical functionality in L2 communication. It is argued that by promoting active reflection and engagement with communicative issues using the concept of normativity, MCE enabled learners to begin to appreciate the pragmatic significance of the concept as expressed in ser/estar.

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DOI: 10.1558/lst.v3i2.32865


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