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The Learning Conference 2003

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Presentation Details


Transactional Emergence in Second-language Literacy Development: Illustrations of Applicability in a University French Language Course

George G. Hruby, Lionel J. Lemarchand.

The current developmental systems consensus in the developmental sciences has fruitful implications for literacy development research, including research in second language learning contexts. Developmental systems theory explicates the complex and interested transactions of agent and ecological surround at multiple scales of temporal and spatial organization, and the way these change over time in living organizational forms. In the case of a classroom, the learner would be the agent, and the socio-emotional, linguistic, cultural, and semiotic surrounds would be the ecological contexts. The idea is not to reduce linguistic and other higher order sociocognitive phenomena to lower level biochemical, cytological, or neuroendocrinological processes, but to acknowledge that the same bio-ecological dynamics of embedded self-organization are to be found across levels of higher, emergent phenomena. At the very least, if not a homology, such an assumption can work as a useful and enlightening trope.

Using original material and authentic texts from a wide array of sources and as varied as French news broadcasts or WWI censored letters, we can set an ecological context that enhances second language acquisition. In this system the teacher mediates student learning both deliberately and by way of indirect effect and becomes part of the classroom ecology. The teacher's use of authentic text also allows for topically pertinent yet individualized transactive readings.

In this presentation we will illustrate the nature of the transactive agent-surround relationship, and we will share concrete examples of classroom application.


George G. Hruby  (United States)
Assistant Professor
Department of Reading Education
University of Georgia

Dr. George G. Hruby is currently an Assistant Professor of Reading Education at The University of Georgia, Athens. His research has appeared in Reading Research Quarterly, Reading Research and Instruction, The Journal of Mind and Behaviour, and other journals and edited volumes. He has been chair of the Brain, Neurosciences, and Education special interest group of the American Educational Research Association.

Lionel J. Lemarchand  (United States)
Assistant Professor
School of Modern Languages
Georgia Institute of Technology

Dr. Lionel Lemarchand is an Assistant Professor in the School of Modern Languages at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta and the director of the French for Business and Technology (LBAT) summer program in Lyon, France. He has a B.S in Mathematics and an M.A in French Studies (Auburn University) and a Ph. D. in French Literature and History (University of Georgia). His research areas include WWI correspondence (Lettres Censurées des Tranchées – 1917, l’Harmattan, Paris, 2001

  • Development
  • French
  • Literacy
  • Language
  • Transactional Theory

(30 min Conference Paper, English)