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Second language (L2) development as concept-mediated textual activity: Exploring the role of functional language concepts in classroom L2 communication and learning

Herazo, Jose D. (2014) Second language (L2) development as concept-mediated textual activity: Exploring the role of functional language concepts in classroom L2 communication and learning. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This multiple case study explored the roles that functional second-language concepts (FL2Cs) played in learners’ oral L2 communication and development in a Colombian English as foreign language (EFL) classroom. Particularly, the study sought to describe how learners’ conceptual language knowledge and potential to mean during oral L2 communication changed over time, and to determine the mediational roles that FL2Cs played in that change. To that end, the study followed three teenage learner dyads over four months of instruction. Instruction focused on two oral genres, shopping exchanges and recipe procedures, and combined a genre-based approach for language development (Burns, 2010; Rose & Martin, 2012) with concept-based instruction, as proposed by Gal’Perin (1992). Data sources included video and audio recordings of classroom interaction, questionnaires, participant and non-participant observations, and a teacher diary and reflection log.
Detailed data analysis of learner-learner and teacher-learner talk revealed that FL2Cs helped students master a variety of L2 resources needed for oral L2 meaning-making in shopping exchanges and recipes, the two genres that were taught. More importantly, FL2Cs set L2 developmental processes in motion as they transformed learners’ approach to oral communication in a language not their own. Specifically, FL2Cs transformed the way learners conceptualized, made sense of, and planned their L2 choices before oral communication in the two genres, oriented their ongoing oral L2 production, and assessed their L2 choices once these had been realized. Accordingly, this study corroborates the argument that academic or scientific concepts are consequential for learners’ L2 learning and development (Lantolf, 2011), but also contends that the main claim of concept-based instruction, namely that academic concepts are developmental, needs further elaboration to account for a description of who develops what concepts for what uses when and how


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Herazo, Jose
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairDonato, Richarddonato@pitt.eduDONATO
Committee MemberMoss, Margaret
Committee MemberForman, Elliceellice@pitt.eduELLICE
Committee MemberAchugar,
Date: 22 May 2014
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 28 March 2014
Approval Date: 22 May 2014
Submission Date: 4 April 2014
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 365
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: School of Education > Instruction and Learning
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: genre-based instruction, concept-based instruction, second language learning, mediation, sociocultural theory, systemic functional linguistics
Date Deposited: 22 May 2014 15:32
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:18


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