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Natural or Artificial: Is the Route of L2 Development Teachable

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1 Natural or Artificial: Is the Route of L2 Development Teachable
James. P. Lantolf, Penn State University Zhang Xian, Rice University

2 Outline of Presentation
Background Statement of Problem Theoretical Framework Design Results Discussion

3 Second Language Acquisition
Cognitive SLA Cognitive-interactionist: understand the interaction of learner-internal and leaner-external variables Purpose: find universal patterns of L2 learning so that L2 can be explained as a general phenomenon (Ortega, 2009) Piagetian developmental psychology

4 Roots of Cognitive SLA: Progressivism I
Progressivism a consequence of solution to Cartesian Dualism (mind & world are different substance and world is subordinate to mind) Basic Tenet: to educate children effectively it is vital to attend to children’s nature, and particularly to their modes of learning and stages of development, and to accommodate educational practice to what we can discover about these. Herbert Spencer--The daily activities of the classroom are subject to the same laws that shaped the stars above and the earth below Change is from simple to complex

5 Roots of Cognitive SLA: Progressivism II
Spencer’s Argument In everyday life children learn effortlessly: educators should observe this process and find ways to replicate it in “sensible teaching” Education must conform to natural process of mental evolution Learning was a property of the mind, and the mind is a biological organ on the model of the body: “the mind like the body has a predetermined course of evolution” and as it grows it needs food – aliment of the mind is knowledge

6 John Dewey Proponent of Progressivism
Dewey: replicate in school natural learning observed in children’s play in households, streets, and fields. Paradigm form of human learning evident in the way children effortlessly learn language and other knowledge of the world in informal settings Therefore—assume that learning in school must conform to this early effortless learning.

7 Jean Piaget: Proponent of Progressivism
Piaget Basic learning comprised of “what the child learns by himself, what no one can teach him and what he must discover alone” Researchers: Describe underlying psychological process of cognitive development Stages determine what knowledge the developing individual can understand Educational prescriptions and programs that cohere with such theories are called “developmentally appropriate” Teachers: effective only if they understand the nature of developmental processes and recognize that teaching must be “subordinate to spontaneous psychological development”

8 Model of Brain/Culture Relationship in General Psychology and SLA
Nature (Brain/Mind) Culture Thought

9 Ratner (2012). Macro-Cultural Psychology: A Political Philosophy of Mind. Oxford University Press
Culture Not new factor/variable to be correlated with psychology Not psychology as conventionally construed and then add culture as conventionally construed Reconceptualize psychology as a cultural phenomenon, a cultural specimen, a part of human civilization.

10 Vygotsky’s Cultural Psychology
Culture creates special forms of behavior It modifies the activity of mental functions It constructs new superstructures in the developing system of human behavior

11 Social Origin of Cognition
Every higher mental function was external because it was social before it became an internal, strictly mental function, it was formerly a social relation of two people. The means of acting on oneself is initially a means of acting on others or a means of action of others on the individual.

12 Vygotsky Vygotsky: natural and cultural component to psychological development Separate natural and cultural was a mistake Fundamental nature of human development shaped by culture in conjunction with biological endowment.

13 Modeling Vygotsky’s Theory of Cultural Development
Society (Culture) Nature Body-Brain Transforming Force (signification) Thinking-Acting Human Psyche (higher functions)

14 Developmental Education
Education: grounded in explicit mediation is ‘artificial development’ of the individual Influences processes of development restructures all functions of behavior in a most essential manner (Vygotsky 1997) Obuchenie (teaching-learning) leads [not follows] development Key: Scientific (systematically organized) concepts

15 Gal’perin’s STI Systemic Theoretical Instruction (STI)
Concept-based Instruction (CBI) systematically explaining the concept  materializing the concept verbalizing the concept communicative activities  internalization

16 Instruction: Gal’perin’s STI
Systemic Theoretical Instruction (STI)  materialize the concept Schema for Complete Orienting Basis of Action (SCOBA ) Material Activity  verbalizing the concept Communicative Thinking I-You Dialogic Thinking I-Me Communicative Activities Internalization

17 Systemic Theoretical Instruction
Over eight hundred studies showed that STI is highly effective in promoting learning: Physics (Obukhova, 1968) Math (Minskaya, 1966) History (Semenyuk, 1970) Syntax (e.g. Karpova, 1977) Lexical & grammatical aspect (e.g. Negueruela, 2003)

18 Processability Theory
Processability Theory  (PT, Pienemann, 1998) is a theory of second language development. At any stage of development, L2 learners can produce and comprehend only those second language linguistic forms that the current state of the language processor  can handle (Pienemann, 2007, p.137).  

19 PT: Universal Sequencing
L2 learners follow a relatively rigid path when acquiring certain grammatical structures: some grammatical structures are not “learnable” or “processable” until the previous steps along the learning path have been acquired. (Pienemann, 1998)

20 14. Supporting evidence PT received robust support:
English (Pienemann, 1998; Sakai, 2008; Spinner, 2011) Japanese (Di Biase & Kawaguchi, 2002; Kawaguchi, 2000, 2005) Swedish (Glahn et al., 2001; Hakansson & Norrby, 2010) Italian (Di Biase & Kawaguchi, 2002) German (Baten, 2011) Arabic (Mansouri, 2005) Chinese (Gao, 2005; Wang, 2011; Zhang, 2001, 2007)

21 Pienemann’s (1987) Avowel of Piaget
The approach we have taken in the Predictive Framework of SLA and in the Teachability Hypothesis was inspired by our admiration for Jean Piaget’s work on cognitive development. We adopted one concept in particular form Piaget’s word, namely the implicational nature of processing prerequisites for the operations possible at the different stages of acquisition (Piaget, 1950).

22 The testing ground Piaget Vygotsky Describe psychological process
Development Predetermined Sequential Progressive Teaching is subordinate to development Create psychological process Not predetermined Complex Non-linear Teaching promotes [artificial] development

23 Overview of Processability Theory
Learners follow internal processing procedure Governed by processing constraints from Simple to Complex Example: Move constituents from end to beginning of utterance simpler than moving constituents from internal to external position or from external to internal position Adverbs in English: I bought a book yesterday > Yesterday a bought a book He left the room quietly > He quietly left the room Language Features Subject to Processing Constraints Questions in English Negation in German Topicalization Word Order in Chinese Language Features NOT Subject to Processing Constraints Plural Marking in English Case Marking in German

24 Processable Criterion
Three to five sentences with the target structure produced in spontaneous speech production task (Pienemann, 1998)

25 Teachability Hypothesis: Corollary to PT
1. Predetermined Stages Cannot be Skipped under Instruction 2. Effective Instruction at X + 1 X + 2 not effective But see studies by Bonilla (2012) and Farley & McCollam (2004) 3. Instruction even at X + 1 does not guarantee progress through the processing hierarchy

26 16. Some Previous Research on TH
Felix (1981): one of first studies to claim confirmation of TH Tarone & Liu (1995): claimed counterevidence to PT in different contexts Spada & Lightbown (1999): evidence that instruction need not be at next level in processing sequence for learners to develop. But they do not skip levels [NB: two learners appeared to violate this claim, however]. Also, learners considered ready to develop to next level failed to do so—this is not a claim of TH. Mackey (1999): learners deemed ready to develop did not & learners not deemed ready to develop (more than one level below instructional stage) did development Farley & McCollam (2004): using Van Patten’s IP approach also found that learners not deemed ready to developed did so and some deemed ready did not Bonilla (2012): stages could not be skipped but instruction need not be at X+1. It could be aimed at X+2 and still be effective in promoting development.

27 Topicalization Hypothesis in Chinese
Stage 2 (SVO): S(X)(X)VO: TOP = SUBJ: TOPsubj V(O)  e.g Jim ate an apple. TOP=SUBJ V OBJ Stage 3 (Adv+ SVO): TOP = ADJ: TOPadj SV(O) e.g Yesterday Jim ate an apple. TOP=ADV SUBJ V OBJ Stage 4 (OSV): TOP = OBJ: TOPobj SV e.g An apple, Jim ate. TOP=OBJ SUBJ V (Gao, 2005; Wang, 2011; Zhang, 2001, 2007)

28 --- + Y. Zhang (2007) T1 T2 T3 T4 T5 T6 T7 T8 T9 4 Top=obj OSV
Structure T1 T2 T3 T4 T5 T6 T7 T8 T9 4 Top=obj OSV --- + 3 top=adj. adj. SVO 2 top=subj. SVO

29 Purpose of X. Zhang (2014) study
Evaluate the claim of the Teachability Hypothesis Explore the relationship between development and instruction Evaluate two developmental theories: Piagetian theory & Vygotskian theory

30 Research Question & Method
Can instruction alter the developmental trajectory pre-defined by Processability Theory? Method: Teach Stage 4 sentence structure to Stage 2 learners using principles of Developmental Education as realized in STI

31 Participants Six beginning L2 Chinese learners with English as L1

32 Assessment Instruments
Grammaticality judgment task (Time Constrained) Elicited imitation task Q&A Cartoon description Letter Number Sequencing  Working Memory Flanker Task  Cognitive Control Spontaneous Speech Production (SSP)

33 Instructional Procedure
Pretest Q: SVO only? {Stage 1} Day 1 Instruction 1 [OSV] {Stage 4} Day 2 Post-test Q: OSV without ADJ+SVO? Day 9 Instruction 2 [Adj.+SVO, OSV] {Stages 3&4} Day 9 Post-test Q: OSV and ADJ+SVO? Day 16 Instruction 3 [Adj.+SVO, OSV] Day 16 Delayed post-test Q: OSV and ADJ+SVO? Day 37

34 In Chinese, if we want to emphasize what has been eaten, you can also do this:
rice He ate 吃了

35 In Chinese, we can put almost everything (except the verb) at the beginning of a sentence.
We can put time at top We can put place at top He at 2 at home ate rice 2点 在家 吃了

36 29. Materialization of Grammar in Support of WM
Top Subject adv(time) adv(place) verb object Manipulate Silent Way Rods

37 Communicative activities
Making up sentences Gap filling Q&A Translation Cartoon Description Free talk

38 Results T1: Pretest (Day 1) T2: Post test 1 (Day 9) T3: Post test 2 (Day 16) T4: Delayed post-test (Day 37 )

39 Grammar Structure Pre-test (T1) post-test 1 (T2) post-test 2 (T3) delayed post-test (T4) Elicited imitation 4 Top=obj OSV 4 6 11 3 top=adj. ADJ +SVO 9 7 2 top=subj. SVO 40 37 50 42 Q&A 5 2 21 17 19 Cartoon Descrip. 15 3 13 SUM 25 18 20 12 72 67 78

40 --- + --- + Topic Hypoth Structure Pre-test (T1) post-test 1 (T2)
delayed post-test (T4) 4 Top=obj OSV --- + 3 top=adj. ADJ SVO 2 top=subj. SVO Our results Structure T1 T2 T3 T4 T5 T6 T7 T8 T9 4 Top=obj OSV --- + 3 top=adj. ADJ+ SO 2 top=subj. SVO Previous studies

41 Results Participants were able to process and produce Stage 4 topicalization without Stage 3 topicalization The Teachability Hypothesis

42 Discussion Is L2 development universal and predetermined?
No. What is the role of teaching? Properly organized Instruction shapes L2 development in a fundamental way. While many studies support the prediction of PT/TH, why does this study challenge the prediction of TH ?

43 Mediation The appropriate type of mediation that satisfies learners’ need (WM, cognitive control). High quality instruction can provide appropriate mediational tools Practice

44 Declarative/Procedural Memory
Paradis (2009) Procedural Memory begins to decline at approximately age 7 Declarative Memory strengthens as we age (up to about middle age) PM is responsible for L1 grammar acquisition DM is responsible for L1 lexical acquisition Disagreement between Paradis and Ullman Collocational Knowledge of Lexis No neural connection between PM and DM L2 classroom learning governed by DM Accelerated Access More research needed on this hypothesis

45 References Lantolf, J. P. & Poehner, M. E. (2014). Sociocultural theory and the pedagogical imperative in L2 Education: Vygotskian Praxis and the Research/Practice Divide. New York: Routledge. Zhang, X. & J. P. Lantolf (forthcoming). Natural or artificial: Is the route of second language development teachable? Language Learning.

46 The End Thank you Comments are welcome


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