Identity and Communities of Practice in Foreign Language Learning Contexts

Peter Hourdequin


Throughout the 1990s and the first decade of the new millennium, some second language acquisition (SLA) researchers have begun to conduct research from a perspective on learner development that foregrounds the effects of situational or environmental variables on the learning process. These researchers, according to Swain and Deters (2007), privilege a “participation” metaphor over the more traditional focus on “acquisition.” Important researchers in this tradition (e.g., Lantolf, 1994; Pierce, 1995; Duff & Uchida, 1997; Norton & Toohey, 2001) have drawn upon poststructuralist social theory, as well as Vygotsky's (1978) earlier notions of learning situated in a zone of proximal development, to emphasize the influence of the learner's environment in shaping learning behaviors, and consequently language learning outcomes.

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