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2017 Conf. - Eco to Evo & Back Again: Symposing with a van Lierian Ethic of Second Language Pedagogy
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A van Lierian ethic of second language (SL) pedagogy greatly expands our notions of SL teaching and learning. It looks outward, viewing teaching and classrooms in terms of human-environment relational unities. It looks upward, viewing teaching and learning in terms of values and engagement of the whole person with/in the whole environment.

If ecology is about relations, it assumes adaptive (inter)action. Trajectories of adaptive action eventuate in durable if dynamic changes in organism-environment relations. One form of adaptation is learning. Most animals learn wholly through observation and imitation (social learning) and trial-and-error (asocial learning). This is possible when environments are simple and stable, and the animal is evolutionarily preadapted to them.

Humans have evolved a different means of adaptive survival. Rather than adapting to their environments per se, they adapt their environments to themselves. They do so by massively reconstructing them, making them highly artificial. This is done by developing and applying complex "technologies"--the stuff of human culture. Computers and cars exemplify such technologies; so do classrooms and languages.

The "problem" with human technologies are that they are not innate, nor can they simply be learned through observation or trial-and-error. Pedagogy therefore assumes a critical role in maintaining these technologies across individuals and generations. Thus, humans, while they may not be evolutionarily preadapted to climb trees, run fast, or catch large game, are preadapted to teach. In this presentation, I will explicate in detail how "natural pedagogy"--the evolved human adaptation to teach--is also represented in second language classrooms. I will do so by applying Kline's (2015) 5-part behavioral taxonomy of teaching types to SL classroom activities, and on developing the concept of teaching as evolutionarily adaptive behavior as a tool for reflecting on and expanding a van Lierian ethic of pedagogy.

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