Lecture by Patricia A. Duff, October 15, 2004

Heteroglossia in Foreign Language Classrooms: Research, Debates and Issues

by Patricia A. Duff, Associate Professor, Department of Language and Literacy Education, University of British Columbia

Research conducted on the use of students’ first vs. second (or third) languages in foreign language (FL) classrooms in the early 1990’s suggested that students deserve and require maximal, high-quality exposure to the target language in class in order to learn it optimally, but that in many classrooms the FL is underutilized.  In the meantime, other studies adopting a Vygotskian theoretical perspective have suggested that the L1 can serve an important potential scaffolding role in FL classrooms.  Other sociocultural researchers might suggest that to deny students the use of their L1 in class would be to deny them not only their linguistic and cognitive resources but also aspects of their individual and collective identities.  Researchers have argued that trying to socialize students into L2-only use in classrooms is unnatural, unrealistic, and unhelpful to particular types of learners, and when trying to discuss particular topics for which students may lack the requisite L2 resources (e.g., culture, grammar).  In this presentation, I outline some of the debates and issues connected with this topic, contrasting psycholinguistic/cognitive, sociocultural, and sociolinguistic accounts of language use in classroom language teaching.  I then present several recent studies that take into account observed patterns of language choice as well as teachers’ and students’ perspectives on the co-existence and use of multiple languages in their courses.  Finally, I will consider the applicability of language socialization perspectives to FL classroom learning, highlighting the issue of heteroglossia as a case in point.

Friday, October 15, 2004
B4 Dwinelle Hall, 3:00-5:00 pm