An investigation of the significance of sociocultural theory on methodology in language 1 and language 2 and the possible practical implications for the role of drama in second language acquisition

Year: 2013

Author: Christen, Lesley

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper presents a conceptual and theoretically based argument that seeks to identify a line of thinking originating in the work of Vygotsky and a series of commentators on Vygotskian theory. This thinking will be described for its relevance to the central proposition that the use of process drama as a mediating activity embodying spontaneous and collaborative interaction, greatly assists in the best practice of second language acquisition. I will put forward the position advanced by sociocultural language theorists, that although sociocultural theory has been a basis for research in the field of applied linguistics in second language acquisition, such interest has not garnered general acceptance within research of language methodology, as can be witnessed in the predominance of traditional cognitive approaches in research and journal articles. It is my intention to refer to articles clarifying this position and to examine more closely some lines of thinking originating in Vygotsky's research. While Vygotsky's theories on learning acknowledge the role of the genetic in development, they rely on the premise that frameworks for thinking are social in origin, appropriated through cultural practice. I will refer to contemporary research that supports the sociocultural claim that the relationship between individuals forms the basis for cognitive and linguistic mastery. By examining Vygotsky's insights, I will highlight elements of first language learning and examine current published evidence that supports links between elements present in the theoretical framework of first language learning and the use of drama methodology in best teaching practice in second language acquisition.