Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The ecology and semiotics of language learning

 My favorite parts from Chapter 1
The ecological approach developed here is neither a theory nor a method. It is a way of thinking a way of acting (p. 3).
Since ecology studies organisms in their relations with the enbironment, ecology is a contextualized or situated form of research (p. 3).
Characteristics of van Lier's ecological approach
relations, context, patterns/systems, emergence, quality, value, critical, variability, diversity, activity, (pp. 4-8)
Context is the heart of the matter (p. 5)
I have argued that ecology and sociocultural theory (SCT) share a number of important features. Indeed, Vygotsky 's method of investigation have been called ecological (van der Veer & Valsiner, 1991, p. 58). Yet an ecological perspective or worldview can add significant direction and theoretical cohesion to SCT work. Some of the features are:
-a consistent theory of language within a theory of semiotics, clarifying the notion of sign, and emphasizing the dialogical nature of meaning.
A view of context that includes the physical, the social, and the symbolic world.
a focus on affordance as including both immediate and nediated action, perception and interpretation
a temporal and spatial interpretation of situated activity
a concern with the quality of learning environments, and a critical perspective on educational activity
an appreciation of variation and diversity
the integration of self and identity in the learning process (p. 21)

van Lier, L. (2004). The ecology and semiotics of language learning: a sociocultural perspective. Boston: Kluwer Academic.

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