Learning an additional language through dialogic inquiry

Mari Haneda, Gordon Wells

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

51 Citations (SciVal)


It has been increasingly recognised that classroom discourse plays an important social role as a semiotic mediator of knowledge construction with respect to curriculum content. The assumption is that through active verbal engagement with a topic of interest, students are enabled to master the modes of language use associated with schooling - the various genres and registers specific to the different school subjects. In this conceptual position paper, we examine how appropriate these assumptions are in the case of school-aged English as additional language (EAL) learners who are learning English as the language of instruction. In the first part, we will make the case for the importance of dialogue in learning, both first and second languages and the need for an inquiry orientation to the curriculum in order to promote dialogic interaction. In the second part, drawing on examples from our research, we will present three instantiations of dialogic inquiry involving EAL learners in elementary and intermediate grades and discuss issues concerning dialogic inquiry and second language learning.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)114-136
Number of pages23
JournalLanguage and Education
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


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