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ERIC Number: EJ870084
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008-Dec
Pages: 24
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 35
ISSN: ISSN-0039-8322
The Mediational Role of Classroom Practices during the Silent Period: A New-Immigrant Student Learning the English Language in a Mainstream Classroom
Iddings, Ana Christina DaSilva; Jang, Eun-Young
TESOL Quarterly: A Journal for Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages and of Standard English as a Second Dialect, v42 n4 p567-590 Dec 2008
For this article we aimed to understand the emergence of English as a second language for a newly immigrated Mexican student, a native speaker of Spanish, enrolled in a mainstream kindergarten classroom, who was undergoing the "silent period" (Krashen, 1981). Applying ecological approaches that emphasize learners in relationship with their environment, we analyzed three particular classroom practices and their respective mediational roles for the development of a second language (L2). Following Tomasello's (1999, 2003) recognition that the understanding of communicative intentions is an essential prerequisite for language development, we argue that certain characteristics of routine classroom practices (i.e., shared objects, infrastructural elements, and speech patterns) provided key interactional and contextual affordances for the understanding and internalization of a shared system of symbols (linguistic and nonlinguistic) and, thus, for the emergence of the L2. This research suggests that our focal student was intentionally and actively engaged in L2 learning during this period of silence. In addition, our findings suggest that although the understanding of communicative intentions contributed to the legitimization of a "student" identity for the learner during the silent period, it did not contribute to the learning of academic content. We argue that ambiguity and multiplicity of intentions conveyed in some classroom actions may be particularly challenging for L2 learners in mainstream classrooms. (Contains 1 figure and 5 footnotes.)
Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages, Inc. 700 South Washington Street Suite 200, Alexandria, VA 22314. Tel: 888-547-3369; Tel: 703-836-0774; Fax: 703-836-7864; Fax: 703-836-6447; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Kindergarten
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A