Steve Thorne at CLS: “Living language and effortful engagement”

On Thursday, April 6, the CLS was happy to welcome Steve Thorne, Associate Professor of Second Language Acquisition at Portland State University’s Department of World Languages and Literatures.

In his lunchtime lecture, “Living language and effortful engagement as catalysts for language learning,” Thorne argued for a view of language learning that puts social, purposive, effortful, and consequential activity at the core. In his view, engagement and learning through living language can take place in any number of communicative environments, from ‘traditional’-looking face-to-face classrooms to the “digital wilds” of YouTube comment threads, massively multiplayer online games, and fanfiction sites. Across all these, however, a key task of the language teacher is to help learners “bridge” their motivated (and often immersive, so less reflective) engagements with authentic texts and practices in the L2 with analytical, interpretive, and critical activities that reveal connections between linguistic form, function, meaning and use.

Slides from Thorne’s talk can be downloaded here; the video and a few photos from the day’s lecture appear below. And, whether you were at the lecture or not, please feel free to leave any thoughts or questions in the comments.

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