1st Edition

Second Language Teacher Education
A Sociocultural Perspective

ISBN 9780415800792
Published May 21, 2009 by Routledge
160 Pages

USD $59.95

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Book Description

'… A beautifully written, articulate and compelling argument for a sociocultural perspective on second language teacher education . . . Essential reading for all who wish to understand this perspective.' – David Nunan, University of Hong Kong

'…Significant and timely. Johnson is masterful at writing in an engaging, transparent prose about complex concepts. It’s a rare scholar who can write prose like this. Throughout my reading I wanted to engage in dialogue with her – this is a sure sign of a great book." – Diane Tedick, University of Minnesota, USA

This book presents a comprehensive overview of the epistemological underpinnings of a sociocultural perspective on human learning and addresses in detail what this perspective has to offer the field of second language teacher education. Captured through five changing points of view, it argues that a sociocultural perspective on human learning changes the way we think about how teachers learn to teach, how teachers think about language, how teachers teach second languages, the broader social, cultural, and historical macro-structures that are ever present and ever changing in the second language teaching profession, and what constitutes second language teacher professional development. Overall, it clearly and accessibly makes the case that a sociocultural perspective on human learning reorients how the field understands and supports the professional development of second language teachers.

Table of Contents



Chapter 1: Defining a Sociocultural Perspective

Changing Points of View

Teachers as Learners of Teaching

Language as Social Practice

Teaching as Dialogic Mediation

Macro-Structures and the L2 Teaching Profession

Inquiry-Based Approaches to Professional Development

Future Challenges for L2 Teacher Education

Chapter 2: Shifting Epistemologies in Teacher Education

Overcoming a Positivistic Epistemological Perspective

Shifting towards an Interpretative Epistemological Perspective

Emerging Research on Teacher Cognition

Reconceptualizing the Knowledge-base of L2 Teacher Education

A Sociocultural Perspective on L2 Teacher Education

Chapter 3: Teachers as Learners of Teaching

Understanding Teacher Learning from a Sociocultural Perspective

"Seeing" Teaching Learning

Teacher-Authored Accounts of Professional Development

Mediational Means in the Zone of Proximal Development

Disciplinary Knowledge and Concept Development

Transformation of Activity: Teacher Learning – Student Learning

Chapter 4: Language as Social Practice

Defining Knowledge About Language

Language as Social Practice

Embracing Language as Social Practice in L2 Teacher Education

Developing Teachers’ Awareness of Language as Social Practice

Analyzing E-mail Messages

Analyzing Classroom Transcripts

Building Curriculum from Contexts of Use

Chapter 5: Teaching as Dialogic Mediation

Teaching, Learning, and Development

The Development of Conceptual Thinking

Reconceptualizing the Concepts of Methodology, Language’, and


Reconceptualizing Reading Comprehension Instruction

Scaffolded Learning and Assisting Performance

Teachers’ Questioning Patterns

Maximizing Classroom Interaction

Chapter 6: Macro-Structures and the Second Language Teaching Profession

Activity Theory: An Overview

Educational Reforms Policies

English Language Educational Reform Policies in South Korea

Contradictions and Interventions

Redesigning a School Community: The Case of a Finnish Middle


Implementing Educational Reform Policies: The Teaching

Practicum in South Korea

The Power of High-Stakes Language Testing

Constructing a Student: The Case of Joon

Constructing a Student: The Case of Noelle

Chapter 7: Inquiry-based Approaches to Professional Development

The Narrative Nature of Teachers’ Accounts

The School Context and Culture in which Teachers’ Accounts Emerge

Linkages between Teachers’ Accounts and Professional Discourses

The Zone of Proximal Development as a Mediational Space

Models of Inquiry-Based Professional Development

Critical Friends Groups

Peer Coaching

Lesson Study Groups

Cooperative Development

Teacher Study Groups

Chapter 8: Future Challenges for Second Language Teacher Education

‘Located’ Second Language Teacher Education

Linking Teacher Learning and Student Learning

Intellectual Tools of Inquiry vs. The Politics of Accountability

Subject Index

Author Index


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Karen E. Johnson is Liberal Arts Research Professor of Applied Linguistics at The Pennsylvania State University, and Co-director of the Center for Advance Language Proficiency Education and Research


"I found this book pleasant, stimulating and enlightening reading, as well as a good source of information. I suggest it to whoever is interested not only in L2 teacher training but also in teacher training in general, because it is a valid example of how reflection on learning and on the teaching profession can fruitfully be developed in a sociocultural perspective."--British Journal of Educational Technology, Vol. 41: No. 2, 2010