Join events with Associate Professor Matthew Poehner

Associate Professor Matthew Poehner, Pennsylvania State University, USA, will visit RECLAS/JYU in June. His expertise lies in the Sociocultural Theory and its application to L2 learning, teaching, and assessment; he is particularly known for his work in the area of L2 dynamic assessment. You can find more about him here:
  • When Jun 11, 2019 12:00 PM to Jun 19, 2019 12:00 PM (Europe/Helsinki / UTC300)
  • Where The places will be announced later
  • Contact Name
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Tue., 11.6. 12–16, a joint event with Shawn Loewen: Matthew Poehner’s talk: Praxis in L2 Education: Conceptual and Methodological Considerations; Shawn Loewen's talk: Exploring the research-pedagogy link in second language teaching. Place: Lyhty. Light lunch and coffee will be served. Please register here until May 19 at

Matthew’s abstract:

The relation between knowledge generation and activity that utilizes such knowledge in the world is a central question in the philosophy of science. It is most acutely felt in the social and human sciences, which are marked by multiple traditions rather than the unified approaches characteristic of the natural sciences. The Critical Tradition draws upon dialectical logic, which can be traced through Hegel to its origins in Greek philosophy, to offer a coherent meta-theory of human beings and their world: historical materialism, most strongly associated with the writings of Marx. This meta-theory provides an approach to science that differs from dominant, positivistic orientations by positioning understanding and explanation of the world in relation to efforts to change the world for the better. Borrowed from the Greek, praxis is the term that expresses this relation, with theory and research employed as a basis for practice while practice is necessary for refining and elaborating theory.

In this presentation, I provide an overview of praxis, positioning it in relation to other approaches to social science (including second language or L2) research. Some of the ways that praxis compels a reconceptualization of conventions and assumptions in social science research are discussed. Against this background, two instantiations of praxis work are identified: in education, the model of critical participatory action research and in psychology, the cultural historical or sociocultural theory developed by L. S. Vygotsky. I argue that the latter provides a principled approach to understanding and harnessing the potential for interactions and activities to promote abilities (including L2 abilities in instructional environments). The former offers a commensurable methodological orientation to guide partnerships between researchers and practitioners. To illustrate such work, recent projects concerned with Dynamic Assessment and Concept-based Language Instruction are considered.


Mon., 17.6., 8.30–12.00: Matthew & Dmitri conduct a pre-conference workshop Computerized Dynamic Assessment and Its Applications to Second Language Education at TDL 2019. You can register for the conference here: See you at the workshop!


This workshop aims to familiarize language researchers and educators with Dynamic Assessment and its potential to both uncover and promote learner second language abilities. The workshop focuses on L2 Dynamic Assessment, which, firmly based within Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Theory, merges assessment and instruction into one development-oriented activity seeking to simultaneously assess learner abilities and promote the development of these same abilities. Participants will be introduced to the theoretical principles that inform Dynamic Assessment and will be presented with recent examples that extend previous classroom-based, small-scale applications to computerized formats, which allow for large numbers of learners to receive support. The workshop includes a hands-on component that encourages participants to collaboratively plan how an assessment might be administered as Computerized Dynamic Assessment and how information from that procedure can be used to support classroom learning. This workshop is open to language researchers and educators regardless of level of experience, languages of interest, and familiarity with Sociocultural Theory or Dynamic Assessment.


Wed., 19.6. 10–12: Open discussion with the focus on the Sociocultural Theory.

Anything you would like to know or discuss about teaching, learning, and assessment of languages, research-practice collaboration, and/or methods in L2 research as seen through the lens of the Sociocultural Theory? Join us in this interactive talk! Both doctoral students and staff are welcome, but particularly doctoral students are encouraged to participate. The participants will direct the discussion through questions and comments, which can both be spontaneously raised during the talk and sent to Prof. Poehner in advance (see the registration form).

Please register until May 27 (coffee/tea will be served):


Individual meetingsthere is a possibility to arrange individual / small group meetings with Matthew, where you can discuss your research, publication, or anything else you find interesting by sending him an E-mail to Note that the number of these are limited, so the earlier you do so, the more it is likely that there is a slot for you.