EUROCALL Teacher Education SIG Workshop 2010 Presentation Vicky Antoniadou
An in situ approach
Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Lyon, May 2010
A/ Theoretical background – Cultural-Historical Activity
Theoretical background- origins and development
Key figures and contributions
Main ideas and premises
B/ Presentation of the research
Description of situation examined in this research
Approach and methodology adopted
Work up to now
Further analysis planned
Paradigm shift in education in the last two decades
cognitive perspective vs. sociocultural perspective
Key figures in literature
o Mikhail Bakhtin - Dialogic approach
o Lev Vygotsky- Dialectic approach
Sociocultural and historical context as mediator of all
human mental development
Theoretical frameworks developed to this account
o Sociocultural Theory (Vygotsky, 1978; 1986),
o Situated learning (Lave, 1996)
o Communities of Practice – Learning by doing (Lave and
o Activity Theory (Leont'ev, 1978, Engestrӧm, 1999; 2001),
CHAT - Theory of the mind (Marx – dialectics of mind)
“Activity theory is a theoretical framework for analysing
human practices as developmental processes with both
individual and social levels interlinked at the same time”
Three generations of CHAT
1.Lev Vygotsky (1896-1934)
- Human mental development and social, cultural and
historical conditions are intertwined
- Cultural mediation to human cognition
- Mind emerges in activity - Reacts to behaviorism:
stimulus-response, cause – effect)
1. Activity system as the prime unit of analysis
“ Any analysis of a human activity should focus on a three-way
interaction among subjects-objects and communities mediated by
tools, rules and division of labor” (Engestrӧm, 1987)
“An activity is not a homogeneous entity. It is comprised of a variety of
disparate elements, voices and viewpoints (Engeström 1999).
“ Activities are not static or rigid, they are constantly evolving. To
understand a phenomenon means to know how it is developed into its
existing form (Kaptelinin 1996)
4. Contradictions - 4 levels of contradictions internal and external
“Historically accumulating structural tensions within and between
activity systems (Engestrӧm, 2001). They are a source of innovation
and change” (Engestrӧm, 1999)
5. Expansive cycles
Refers to the cases where knowledge and what there is to be
learned is not stable or well-defined; new forms of activities
[…] are literally learned as they are being created (ibid.).
Why is it relevant to this research?
There is no single or right answer to the question of what a
good teacher is or what a teacher should know in terms of
stable/ well-defined knowledge.
“ Learning is too much of a complex process to be examined
in a unidirectional/linear way. “It is always distributed across
mind, time and space” (Barab et al., 2001)”.
1. Who are the subjects of learning?
• 7 teacher trainees in the 3rd and final year of their TEFL degree doing their Practicum
• Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) - Academic year 2009-10.
2. Why do they learn?
• To become primary education teachers of EFL.
3. What do they learn?
• Develop teacher skills valid for future language educators via EPOSTL criteria -
European Portfolio for Student Teachers of Languages
4. How do they learn?
a) Via (tele)collaboration through discussion groups with UIUC peers and face to face
tutorials with their fellow peers and school placement.
b) Through immersive use of new technologies i.e. Second Life, Zoho, Voicethread
and familiar technologies i.e. Moodle, text chats, Skype to construct final products
required for the course:
i. design and implementation of a teaching sequence
ii. Design, implementation and evaluation of a podcast and sequence of activities
What will count as knowledge or learning in the case of
Is it possible to identify learning moments i.e.
development of teaching skills in the practicum activity
of teacher trainees?
What is the role of collaboration as mediator in this
How can the CHAT model be used to answer this
Longitudinal situated qualitative research - Aims to
examine the learning process in all its length and
Sees learning as development through active
participation and internalization
1. Choose 3 students based on criteria of performance
throughout the course and enthusiasm towards the
suggested course of instruction
2. Gather the data where these 3 subjects are directly
involved i.e. forum discussions, transcript from online
meeting, classroom tutorials presentations, final wiki
3. Segment data corpus (transcripts of classroom
tutorials, online chats, forum discussions) into
Action-Relevant Episodes (ARE) to trace the
development of the outcome (Barab, Hay and
Action Relevant Episodes (AREs)
“ activity occurrences that are judged to be a significant
happening in the learning context, and are delimited by
a change in theme, activity, subject or resources” (Barab
et al., 2001).
Each ARE should be comprised by an initiator, an issue at
hand (main focus of the episode), the participants, resources
(any piece of information, object or tool that a participant use
to carry out the practice) and a practice (result/conclusion)
Video and audio recordings of the face to face interaction in
classroom. (40 recorded hours)
Instances of asynchronous (forum) interaction between the
students exchanging feedback on:
o the teaching sequence* (5 sessions: draft revised
minimally 3 times following f2f/online interactions)
o the podcast* (1 session: designed with online partner)
o individual Action Research (data yet to be compiled).
Two instances of online synchronous interactions for
o the design of the teaching sequence* (MSN)
o the design of the podcast* (SL)
Subject: Anita- enthusiasm/steady performance
activity observed: design of teaching sequence (wiki)
LEARNING IS DEFINITELY THERE!
Extract 1: Anita links theory (previously discussed/debated in
class) with observed practice and develops own hypothesis
(Mother Tongue) – Eng‟s:multivoicedness & contradictions
Extract 2: Anita questions her peers about the appropriate
Division of Labour in an EFL classroom during tasks. – Eng‟s:
Extract 3: Anita uses theory (Communicative Approach) to
illuminate practice/her experience of telecollaboration as a
valuable tool for EFL teaching. Eng‟s/CHAT‟s: tool
mediation, multivoicedness made up by the school setting
Where and how exactly do I pinpoint
those specific moments it happens?
1. Pull out the AREs that denote a practice of particular
interest to the overall activity e.g. assessment
type, instruction approach chosen.
2. Classify the AREs chosen into „more manageable‟ sub-
triangles (Mwanza, 2001) and generate research
questions which will help me locate contradictions.
3. Apply ethnomethodology and MCA (Sacks, 1992) to
the AREs in order to perform a microanalysis of the
4. Examine the emergence of expansive/transformative
learning through the contradictions in terms of
competence in „making connections‟ between
theoretical knowledge and practical
situations, critically reflect on their teaching, overcome
problems (contradictions) and provide solutions.
Interpretive framework to determine and analyze the
general situation of the practicum activity i.e. identify the
components that make up the activity, set the general
scope of the research – the analysis of the course
Multidimensional learning e.g. skills and knowledge on
Second Life developed in parallel with designing the
podcast and CHAT becomes problematic when it comes
to analyze this multidimensionality – it can‟t be rigidly
segmented in linear ways.
Learning is not a linear process nor a cyclical one and I
would probably be risking creating that impression by
presenting development in stages
Thank you for your attention
Barab, Hay and Yagamata- Lynch (2001). Constructing Networks of
Action-Relevant Episodes: An in situ research methodology. The Journal of
the Learning Sciences, 10(1&2), 63–112.
Dooly, M. (2009). Doing Diversity: Teachers‟ construction of their
classroom reality. Peter Lung AG, International Academic Publishers.
Dooly, M. (2009) New competencies in a new era? Examining the impact of
a teacher training project. ReCALL 21(3): 352–369.
Dooly, M. A. (2010). Shopping across the (EU) market: teacher trainees look
for experience abroad. Language and Intercultural Communication. Vol. 10,
No. 1, 54_71
Engestrӧm, Y. (1987). Learning by expanding: an activity-theoretical
approach to developmental research. Helsinki: Orienta-Konsultit.
Engestrӧm, Y. (1999). Expansive visibilization of work: an activity-
theoretical perspective. Computer Supported Cooperative Work
(CSCW), 8(1-2), 63-93.
Engestrӧm, Y. (2001). Expansive learning at work: towards an activity
theoretical reconceptualization. Journal of Education and Work, 14(1), 133-
Jonassen, D.H. & Rohrer-Murphy, L. (1999). Activity theory as a framework
for designing constructivist learning environments. Educational Technology
Research and Development, 47(1), 62-79.
Kaptelinin, V. (1996). Activity theory: implications for human-computer
interaction. In B. Nardi (ed.), Context and consciousness: activity theory and
human-computer interaction. (pp. 45-67). Cambridge, MA: MIT press.
Kaptelinin, V., Nardi, B.A. & Macaulay, C. (1999). The activity checklist: a tool
for representing the space of context.Interactions Magazine, 6(4), 27-39.
Kaptelinin, V. (2000). The didactics of the Web: understanding activity
transformations in business and administration. Paper presented at the
Workshop on Distributed Cognition and Distributed Knowledge: Key issues in
Design for e-commerce and E-government, Sharding, Australia, June 14-16,
Kuutti, K. (1996). Activity theory as a potential framework for human-computer
interaction research. In B. Nardi (Ed.),Context and consciousness: activity
theory and human-computer interaction. (pp. 17-44). Cambridge, MA: MIT
Leont'ev, A.N. (1978). Activity, consciousness and personality. Englewood
Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Leont'ev, A.N. (1981). Problems of the development of mind. Moscow: Progress
Mwanza, D. (2001). Where theory meets practice: a case for an activity theory
based methodology to guide computer system design. In Michitaka Hirose
(Ed), Proceedings of the 13th International Conference on Human-Computer
Interaction, Tokyo, Japan, July 9-13, 2001. (pp. 342-349) Amsterdam: IOS
Press. Retrieved 1 May, 2010 from http://tinyurl.com/49ezz9 (Archived by
WebCite® at http://www.webcitation.org/5Xmd3Mc0Y)
Tolman, C.W. (1988b). The basic vocabulary of Activity Theory. Activity
Theory, 1, 14-20. Retrieved from: http://www.comnet.ca/~pballan/AT2.htm
Uden, L., Valderas, P. and Pastor, O. (2008) An activity-theory-based model to
analyse Web application requirements. In InformationResearch, Vol.13, No. 2.
Retrieved from: http://informationr.net/ir/13-2/paper340.html#Kuutti96
Vygotsky, L.S. (1978). Mind and society. Cambridge MA: Harvard University
What tools does the subjects use do achieve their
objectives and how? I R D of L
What rules affect the way the subjects achieve the objective
How does the division of labor influence the way the
subjects satisfy their objective?
How do the tools in use affect the way community achieves
S O S O S O
What rules affect the community in the way it satisfies the
I R D of L
How does the division of labor affect the way the community
achieves the objective
C O C O C O