Foreign language teacher education research: What can sociocultural theory offer?


On Monday I submitted an abstract for a poster presentation at AARE anual conference 2010 to be held in Melbourne.  It took me quite a while to write a 750 word abstract and it made me feel a bit frustrated about my own progress.  I got concerned about the depth of my readings and thinking and again about the topic and questions of my research.

My poster proposal is about how  sociocultural theory can be used as an heuristic tool to analyse, evaluate and criticise foreign language teacher education. I argue that a sociocultural lens would not only allow us to understand what teachers think, know and believe about language teaching, but would also explain the cultural and social context to which teachers belong  and the relations they have with the community. My job  is to demonstrate how you can analyse foreign language teacher education with a sociocultural framework.

I hope they accept my proposal, however the exercise of abstract writing has mediated my learning regarding sociocultural theory. I hope to be able to illustrate on the poster the potential of a sociocultural lens as a framework for an understanding of how second language teachers learn to teach, in that it offers:

  • a defined epistemological perspective;
  • a framework to analyse content and process of foreign language teacher education ;
  • a way to analyse and transform foreign language teacher education;
  • a tool to analyse artefacts that mediate teachers’ learning.

About Malba Barahona

Educational researcher, language educator. PhD from Australian National University. Passionate bushwalker and mountain lover. I procrastinate reading fiction, hiking, doing yoga, riding, having a beer and more recently decolonizing my existence. I write in English and Spanish in different blogs especially with the purpose of encouraging my students to write.

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