Sociocultural Theory And Second Language Learning

1856 Words Apr 3rd, 2016 8 Pages
Sociocultural Theory and Second Language Learning

“Language is the most pervasive and powerful cultural artefact that humans possess to mediate their connection to the world, to each other, and to themselves” [Lantolf & Thorne 2007:201]. The idea of mediation inherent in this notion of the language is a fundamental element of Sociocultural Theory [SCT], one of the most influential approaches to learning and mental development since the 1990s, drawing its origin from the work of soviet psychologist and semiotist Lev Vygotsky and his colleagues.
This essay aims to describe major principles of SCT and its central constructs, particularly Semiotic Mediation and The Zone of Proximal Development and gives examples of related research studies that have been framed in these concepts.

Before introducing the Vygotsky’s theory of linguistic mediation [built on the definition of language as a mean of mediation] and Whorf ‘s theory of mediation [built on the definition of the language as a shaper of ideas], it is important to briefly explain the concept of semiosis.
With the process of signification at its core, the semiotic mediation focuses on the understanding of the ways in which signs carry, mediate, and constitute sociocultural meaning. According to Lantolf [2014], this sign-based process arises from the interactions that occur in the social relationship culturally organized at both a macro level [institutional arrangements: e.g. school] and micro level…
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