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Defining Technologies, the Sociocultural Mind, and the Second Language Classroom Eduardo Negueruela-Azarola, PhD University of Miami Associate Professor.

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Presentation on theme: "Defining Technologies, the Sociocultural Mind, and the Second Language Classroom Eduardo Negueruela-Azarola, PhD University of Miami Associate Professor."— Presentation transcript:

1 Defining Technologies, the Sociocultural Mind, and the Second Language Classroom Eduardo Negueruela-Azarola, PhD University of Miami Associate Professor of Spanish & Applied Linguistics

2 My Connection – My story The Pennsylvania State University

3 My first laptop circa 1999

4 Intermediate Spanish O Fall 2001: Telecollaboration Project O Design a web site O every other day O Online chatting every week: chat rooms O Videoconferencing: once at the end of the semester

5 Conclusion O Technology was impressive. It was defining, but it needs to be framed (pedagogically: Project based pedagogy) O It promoted communication (Pennsylvania) O It connected learners across the Atlantic O Extremely motivating to learners, but not in the mainstream psychological sense of motivation (Negueruela, 2011)

6 A couple of questions O How do we understand the role powerful defining technologies play in the L2 classroom? O What are the effects of these technologies in L2 learning? How can we capture them?

7 15 years in 15 minutes My research agenda partly begins with this experience in telecollaboration in 1999 (teletandem)… O … because it connected (1) meaningful technologies (2) with critical thinking (3) in a L2 classroom context

8 (1) Defining Technologies O Innovations that become so central in our daily functioning that define who we are, what we do, and even how we think O Web 2.0: Computer-mediated-communication

9 (2) The Sociocultural Mind O Symbolic activity which emerges from ability to construct representations that promote conscious-awareness

10 (3)In the L2 classroom O L2 learning is not about… O Chit/chat proficiency (Language for tourism) O It’s about teaching-learning concepts, critical thinking: ideas that become powerful tools for communication and orientation

11 Teaching-Learning Concepts The ability of learners/people… … in any classroom/context… …to internalize/create new ideas/generalizations… …with concrete functional significance.

12 In the Second Language Classroom Learning a FL is not only about forms, meanings as content, but also as meaning as concepts (implicit models used to think through activities). E.g. Grammatical (tense, aspect, modality), textual (genre, coherence), pragmatic or communicative (context, script, intentionality).

13 Anything Conceptual … is quite challenging because it cannot be taught through basic explaining; … cannot be practiced as basic forms, … cannot be easily learned through induction or deduction As a result, critical concepts are not taught or considered as one of the benefits of CMC

14 What do we do?

15 Goal of Presentation To illustrate how and where defining technologies and the sociocultural mind meet in the language classroom. And where they meet is in the process of conceptual mediation.

16 Conceptual Mediation O One of the central goals of L2 teachers and researchers should be to promote critical thinking. O That is, conceptual internalization in the second language classroom O This applies to grammar teaching, writing/reading, CMC and teletandem

17 Order of presentation (1) Puzzle: Cartesian Dualism in Education (2) Paradox: Models as defining technologies (3) Solution: Mindful Engagement (4) Application: Second Language Teaching & Telecollaboration/teletandem (Mónica Durán)

18 1.Learning/Teaching Puzzle Why (good) students do not learn certain ideas that they are supposed to learn? Why are some ideas so hard to teach in the L2 classroom? E.g. preterite/imperfect, indicative subjunctive, prepositions, ser/estar, articles, metaphors, textual organization, pragmatics

19 1.2. Not Everything is Conceptual in the Same Sense On the one hand, we (learners) constantly create generalizations (pattern building) On the other, we (teachers) have a hard time to teach/orient systematic concepts (generalizations and abstractions)

20 1.3. Solution to a Challenge Can we orient this change? Can/should we teach conceptually? If so, how? (1) Understanding human thinking as mediated thinking (2) Understanding implicit conceptual tools as defining technologies (3) Understanding mindful conceptual engagement

21 1.4. Application of MCE Any field: (1) Astronomy (Engestrom) (2) Foreign Language Grammar (Negueruela, García Frazier, Polizzi, García, Swain,) (3) Mathematics (Anne Watson at Oxford University) (4) Literacy (Alex Kozulin in Israel)

22 1.5 Grammar in FL Teaching Teach grammar through meaning as content & self-expression (Communicative: fluency) Teach grammar through mechanics and simple rules: basic accuracy morphology/syntax Meaning of grammar (concepts and models) is indirectly presented through rules of thumb.

23 1.6 Cartesian Dualism in Education (1) Traditional education (forget about content) Teach forms, basic skills, and mastery of conventions. E.g. FL classroom: teach basic grammar & vocabulary (2) Progressive education (forget about forms) Teach content, and self-expression. E.g. Promote communicative interactions

24 1.7 Mindful Conceptual Pedagogies (MCP) Discovery of implicit models, conceptual representations… which requires mindful engagement: understanding and constructing new models through conceptual manipulation and application.

25 2. Defining technologies The introduction of artifact which changes an activity. Tool use creates new ideas, new implicit models, new opportunities. E.g. (1) Typewriter/pc/laptops (2) Cell phones (3) Social networking (4) Powerpoint

26 2.1.1 Technologies Effects O The introduction of artifacts, new technologies, changes the organization of activity (not necessarily the nature of the activity) O Writing (computers) O Communication (smartphones) O Political advocacy (facebook) O Presentations (powerpoint)

27 2.1 Typewriter 1988 (1900)1992

28 2.2. Personal Computers

29 2.3 Cellphones/Smartphones (1973) –

30 2.4. Social Networking (2013) O Political Advocacy

31 2.5. Transparencies

32 (first beta version)

33 2.7. On the Cognitive Effects Amplification: O New technologies are faster/efficient O More flexible O Less time on task…, more time on new technology (allows you to do more… too much)

34 2.8 Change the nature of the task? New is not always better from the point of view of critical thinking/conceptual development

35 2.9. Isomorphism Re-organization (advantages and limits) O Isomorphism: Calculator is not transparent in its operations. You only see the result. It’s not concrete in the representation of the concept of mathematical unit. O Calculator is more efficient than an abacus but it is less powerful conceptually.

36 3. Models as Technologies

37 3.1 Phases of the moon High School Science Classes (Astronomy): “Why sometimes only a part of the moon is visible or it is not visible at all, even though the sky is cloudless? In other words: What causes the different phases of the moon? Clarify your answer with the help of a drawing.”

38 3.2 Astronomy

39 3.3 Engestrom (1994) The most common answer among both the younger and the older students was that the moon is regularly covered by the shadow of the earth, which causes the new moon. “The shadow of the earth is cast over the moon in different sizes as the moon revolves around the earth.” (Boy, grade 11)

40 3.4 Confusing Events This, in fact, is a fairly accurate description of a relatively uncommon event, the lunar eclipse - and a completely incorrect explanation to the regular phenomenon of new moon.

41 3.5 Synthetic Stupidity We provide a illogical answer… it is not our fault… it is the fault of the models we use to think through.

42 3.6 Observations We have mislearned what the natural science could have taught us: to observe the world. What is even more problematic, we have empty sentences readily at hand because of “simplistic” models which are used as tools for thinking.

43 3.7. Problematic Models In basic diagram of the solar system, used in astronomy textbooks even at universities, you may observe how conveniently close the earth and the moon are to each other and how little difference there is in their sizes.

44 meters textbooks In reality, if the sun were symbolized with a ball with a radius of little over 50 cm, the earth would be symbolized with a ball with a radius of just a little over 0.5 cm and located 150 meters from the sun. The moon would then be symbolized with a ball whose radius would be 1.75 mm and which would be located nearly 40 cm from the earth.

45 3.9. Unthinkable models These distances and sizes are almost unthinkable on the basis of the neat textbook diagrams. Something very essential is destroyed with the loss of distances and sizes. Furthermore, it’s a two dimensional model

46 3.10. Faulty Models O Students cannot very easily grasp how small the likelihood is that the shadow of the earth hits exactly on the moon and makes it invisible. Destruction of sizes and distances lead learners to give artificially “naive” answers to researchers/teachers who are using such distorted pictures as “props”

47 3.11. Three Dimensions

48 3.12. A View from the Earth

49 3.13. Mathematics and CME O Anne Watson at Oxford O Mathematics, and thinking in mathematical concepts, has very little to do with the activity we call math teaching in most schools. O Most math classes do not teach generalizations and thinking. We teach the mechanics of solving specific problems through repetition

50 4. Grammar as Models O We think in terms of models (diagrams, drawings, and rules) O Models are transparent to us. We don’t see them as models, we see them as faithful representations of reality. O It’s critical to represent models because they are tools for thinking

51 4.1. Writing as a Model for Language The literacy challenge from a SCT perspective: Learning a model of language: you need to begin to see speech in terms of a written system… O Once you learn, you see language through the written system.

52 4.2 Foreign Language Teaching We see/explain grammar/language through faulty rules of thumb These models are implitic/invisible to teachers/researchers

53 4.3 CMC and Models O CMC is helping teachers and researchers document/teach communication (not just language) O Confirm the realization that language learning is not a skill but an activity O What are the implicit models that learners internalize because of the technology and the representations we offer them?

54 5. Concepts in SCT in the L2 classroom An idea, both general and concrete, systematic and functional, so as to have practical relevance in explaining, understanding, and orienting specific activity. E.g. The grammatical concept of aspect to understand preterite/imperfect

55 5.1 Mindful Conceptual Engagement Mindful engagement through concepts is necessary for internalizing meanings connected to thinking for speaking. Mindful engagement is achieved in conceptual reflection which requires transpection.

56 5.2 Transpection Verbal thinking that is not about the past (retrospection) not about the future (prospection), not even about the self (introspection), but about making sense of the world through systematic ideas (transpection: a very specific type of reflection).

57 5.3 Concepts as Tools for Thinking The use of a concept as tool for thinking seems to be the key to transform inert concepts as declarative knowledge into conceptual categories, which are functional for communication and conceptualization.

58 5.4 Mindful Engagement & L2 Classroom A conceptual approach to L2 classrooms needs to articulate a curriculum based on concepts: categories of meaning O Peer editing, teletandem, creative writing O (Mónica Durán, Fall 2013, University of Miami)

59 5.5Conceptual Manipulation O To instantiate a MCE approach in CMC in the L2 classroom, teachers/researcher need to: O (1) become aware of implicit models present through technology and interaction, O (2) a concise visual representation of these models, a sophisticated explanation to promote sense-making activity, and finally and most importantly, O (3) Reflective activities based on language: use of language as a tool for making sense of: communicative models, grammar, creative writing.

60 5.6 Pushed to Reflect on L2 Learning O Challenging conceptual tasks. It is the use of language as a tool for internalization of L2 complex meaning (grammatical, textual, pragmatic) such as tense, aspect, and modality. O Learners need to engage in conceptual/reflective tasks where they are pushed to reflect on issues in conceptual ways.

61 5.6 MCE: Intellectual Effort Genuine conceptual reflection is challenging and requires considerable engagement and intellectual effort on the part of learners and teachers. O Project based pedagogy and integrating critical reflection tasks (e.g. Peer editing in Tandem).

62 The future O Born into teletandem!


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