Sociocultural Theory in Second Language Education: An Introduction through Narratives

Author: Merrill Swain, Penny Kinnear, Linda Steinman

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Hardback, Ebook(PDF), Ebook(EPUB)
Multilingual Matters
Number of pages:
245mm x 174mm

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In this accessible introduction to Vygotskian sociocultural theory, narratives illuminate key concepts of the theory. These key concepts include mediation; Zone of Proximal Development; collaborative dialogue and private speech; everyday and scientific concepts; the interrelatedness of cognition and emotion; activity theory; and assessment. A final chapter provides readers with an opportunity to consider two additional narratives and apply the SCT concepts that they have become familiar with. We hear from learners, teachers and researchers in a variety of languages, contexts, ages and proficiencies. Intended for graduate and undergraduate audiences, this new edition of the textbook includes controversies in the field, improved questions for collaborative discussion and provides updated references to important work in the literature of second language teaching, learning and research.

In the monograph co-authored by Merrill Swain, Penny Kinnear and Linda Steinman the key principles that lie at the heart of Vygotsky's sociocultural theory (SCT) come to life thanks to the narrative approach they adopt in search of vivid illustrations and real-life experiences of SCT concepts.

Translation and Translaguaging in Multilingual Contexts 1:2 (2015) 233-235

The authors, each from a different background, share a passion for sociocultural theory. Each author brings stories, data and experiences from her area of expertise: second language pedagogy and teacher development (Linda); classroom teaching with second language and bilingual students across a range of contexts (Penny); and teaching and research in bilingual education and second language learning and testing (Merrill). Merrill Swain is Professor Emeritus in the Curriculum, Teaching and Learning Department at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) of the University of Toronto. Penny Kinnear is Lecturer at the University of Toronto. Linda Steinman is Associate Professor in the Department of Languages, Literatures and Linguistics at York University in Toronto.

A note from the authors on the publication of this second edition


Vygotsky's story in brief


1:Mona: Across time and geography


2:Madame Tremblay: A French immersion story

The zone of proximal development (ZPD)

3:Narrative 1: Jody (talking to self)

Narrative 2: Sophie and Rachel (talking to others and self)

Languaging: Private speech and collaborative dialogue

4:Thaya: Writing across languages

Everyday and scientific concepts: Establishing connections

5:Grace: The effect of affect

Interrelatedness of cognition and emotion

6: Sandra's story: A teacher's dilemma

Activity theory

7:Yang: Being assessed

Assessment from an SCT perspective

8:Maria and the Beatles; Jean-Paul and Second Life

The floor is yours



Postgraduate, Research / Professional, Undergraduate, Text
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