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ERIC Number: ED509160
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Sep
Pages: 22
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 36
Activity and Language in Advanced Graduate Study
Barowy, William; Thormann, Joan
Online Submission, Presented at the 2008 International Society for Cultural and Activity Research (ISCAR) conference.
Recent work integrating Cultural-Historical Activity Theory (CHAT) with Systemic Functional Linguistics (SFL) forms a basis for systematizing action research in higher education. This basis strengthens what are often otherwise its methodological weaknesses, namely, the disconnection between analysis and subsequent plans for action and the dearth of generalized results. Activity Theory provides the semiotic resources to identify essential elements of human activity and to characterize its processes of development. Systemic Functional Linguistics offers the semiotic resources to describe how language functions in the activity of education and of action research. The methods and units of analysis of CHAT and SFL are specific and cross multiple scales, making it possible to put what happens during relatively short episodes of learning in relation to the prolonged work of completing a degree program and to the still lengthier processes of organizational change. Situating action research in relation to theory helps to overcome the limitations of "local knowledge" internal to the study while, external to the study, contributing to the set of theoretical applications. To illustrate the usefulness of SFL and CHAT to analyze teaching teachers to conduct research, we describe our own action research in a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study program. Beginning with the redesign of initially independent teacher research and thesis courses to function as one, we envision a more learner-centered program that engages our students, who are teachers and administrators, in transforming the conditions of their own schools. (Contains 7 endnotes and 1 figure.)
Publication Type: Reports - Descriptive; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Massachusetts