chapter  2
26 Pages

Sociocultural Theory and Content-Based Foreign Language Instruction: Theoretical Insights on the Challenge of Integration

ByRichard Donato

A recurrent finding of research on content-based instruction (CBI) is that teachers find CBI difficult to conceptualize, design, and implement, be it in traditional foreign language programs or in intensive content-based programs, such as dual language and immersion. 1 Among the various challenges that teachers report when transitioning to a foreign language (FL) curriculum based on academic subject matter, the pedagogical goal of integrating language and content stands out as the most common refrain (Cammarata, 2009, 2010; Cenoz, Genesee, & Gorter, 2014; Tedick & Cammarata, 2012). In this chapter, I argue that the problem can be resolved through an understanding of a language-based theory of learning and development (Wells, 1994) that views the integration of language and content as socialization into discursive disciplinary practices. To this end, the major tenets of sociocultural theory and affiliated theories will be presented to explain some of the challenges that have been found to plague current and future teachers in CBI programs.