Mediated Development and the internalization of psychological tools in second language (L2) education

Matthew E. Poehner, Paolo Infante

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9 Scopus citations


A relatively recent and important line of research in the second language (L2) follows Vygotsky's analysis of scientific concepts and attempts to reorganize language curricula according to linguistic concepts that learners might employ to regulate their L2 use. The present research extends this work by integrating it with the pedagogical proposals of Reuven Feuerstein. We propose a framework, Mediated Development (MD-L2), that emphasizes mediation through concepts but that offers a structured, interactional approach to guiding learners to engage with and internalize concepts. Following a presentation of the framework, we provide examples and interactional excerpts drawn from a recent project aimed at helping adolescent and university learners of English understand the tense-aspect system and employ it to regulate their use of the language in writing. Careful analysis of the representations of the tense-aspect system employed in the program, the psychological actions targeted by learning tasks, and the contributions of an expert interlocutor (a mediator) as he engaged individually with a focal learner in the project offer insights into the complementary nature of symbolic and dialogic mediation in promoting new ways of thinking about and using the meaning-making affordance in language. Implications for curriculum and instruction more broadly are considered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100322
JournalLearning, Culture and Social Interaction
StatePublished - Sep 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education


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