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2017 - Sociocultural Theory and Complex Dynamic Systems Theory: What can we learn from each other?
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AAAL 2017 Preconference Workshop

Sociocultural Theory and Complex Dynamic Systems Theory: what can we learn from each other?

Kees de Bot
James Lantolf

The aim of this daylong workshop is to compare Sociocultural Theory (SCT) and Complex Dynamic Systems Theory (CDST) and see to what extent they are based on comparable assumptions and could be complementary. The aim is not to assess which of the two is ‘the best’ but to see what we can learn from each other.

The focus will be on data and the practicalities of analysis, valuable in themselves, but perhaps more importantly understood as a way of engaging more deeply with the underlying theoretical issues. Classroom interaction and dyadic interaction are examples of two types of data to be approached from each perspective.


Kees de Bot is emeritus professor of the University of Groningen and professor of Applied Linguistics at the University of Pannonia in Hungary. He got his PhD from the University of Nijmegen. His interests include: the history of Applied Linguistics, cognitive aspects of multilingualism, bilingualism and aging, the application of Complex Dynamic Systems Theory in second language development and linguistic minorities in Europe.

James P. Lantolf is Greer Professor in Language Acquisition and Applied Linguistics in the Department of Applied Linguistics at the Pennsylvania State University. He is Director of the Center for Language Acquisition, and Director of CALPER (Center for Advanced Language Proficiency Education and Research) Penn State’s Title VI Language Resource Center. He was president of the American Association for Applied Linguistics (2005), served as co-editor of Applied Linguistics (1993-1998), and is founding editor of Language and Sociocultural Theory, Equinox Press. He is recipient of the AAAL Distinguished Scholarship and Service Award (2016). His research focuses on sociocultural theory and second language development in classroom settings. He is co-author of Sociocultural theory and the genesis of second language development (2006), Oxford University Press. His 2014 co-authored book, Sociocultural theory and the pedagogical imperative: Vygotskian praxis and the L2 research/practice divide (Routledge) was awarded the Mildenberger Prize of the Modern Language Association of America for its contribution to research on the teaching of language and culture.

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