ERIC Number: ED464497
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2001
Reference Count: N/A
Contradictions, Appropriation, and Transformation: An Activity Theory Approach to L2 Writing and Classroom Practices.
Nelson, Charles P.; Kim, Mi-Kyung
Texas Papers in Foreign Language Education, v6 n1 p37-62 Fall 2001
This paper proposes that activity theory provides a useful framework for understanding how students learn to write in a foreign language and how student and classroom practices evolve over time. Activity theory emphasizes the sociocultural and historical nature of the learning setting. The paper outlines central tenets of activity theory, examining the following: (1) how international students in a first-year university rhetoric and composition course appropriated concepts and tools of rhetoric and self-evaluation; (2) how those concepts and tools mediated their learning to write in English; and (3) how tensions and contradictions in the class led to changes in the composition activity system. Data from observations, student surveys and interviews, students' online learning records, and writing samples indicate that participation in class, appropriation of rhetorical concepts and tools, conflicts students face in appropriation, and ability to expand and generalize their learning are all mediated by concepts and tools of the past and present activities in which they have engaged and are engaging. The paper posits that activity theory has the potential to contribute to understanding of the strong influence of sociocultural factors on the learning processes and to inform second language composition theory and pedagogy. The questionnaire is appended. (Contains 34 references.) (SM)
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: Texas Univ., Austin. Foreign Language Education Program.