New Perspectives on Material Mediation in Language Learner Pedagogy

Despite the ubiquity of materials in language classrooms, there remains a deficit in the collective body of research literature on materials use and the role of material mediation in second language teaching and learning. The little previous research on language materials use has shown that materials can have vast and sometimes unexpected impacts on the teaching/learning and interaction that occurs in language classrooms (e.g., Canagarajah, 1993; Guerrettaz & Johnston, 2013; Jakonen, 2015). However, the field is lacking in comprehensive frameworks for understanding how language materials serve as mediating resources in the classroom.

This book will focus on new perspectives on the role of material mediation in approaches to language teaching and learning. Offering a diversity of language teaching contexts and learner populations, this book will address the impact of materials on ecological resources of the classroom, the ways materials mediate human action in the classroom, and the materials’ roles in the co-construction of classroom discourse. We invite scholars to submit proposals for original chapters that contribute to the nascent field of research on materials in the language classroom.

The present volume distinguishes materials and material mediation in specific ways. A key requirement for authors submitting manuscripts is that the writing be firmly anchored in these definitions:

  • materials: artifacts introduced by the teacher and having an immediate and particular underlying pedagogic purpose
  • material mediation: the bidirectional processes as participants in the classroom ecology (i.e., teachers and learners) engage and interact with the materials and as the materials themselves shape the curriculum, the related planning phase, and the final enactment of teaching and learning in the classroom ecology

Organized by the theoretical frameworks and perspectives of sociocultural theory (Vygotsky, 1978; Wertsch, 1991), classroom ecology (van Lier, 1996, 2004), and mediated or multimodal discourse analysis (e.g., Norris, 2004; Scollon, 1998), chapters of this volume explore the ways in which teachers and learners are impacted by the affordances and constraints of the materials while at the same time they bring their own (evolving) resources, identities, beliefs, and expertise to modify and adapt the materials to better suit their local context(s) in the language teaching and learning environments. Contributing authors are asked to frame the scope of their chapters within the parameters of the following guiding research questions:

  • How do materials serve as artifacts that mediate human action?
  • How do materials serve as semiotic resources in the ecology of the classroom?
  • How do materials influence and mediate interaction with the course curriculum and/or the classroom discourse?
  • How do materials and their embedded activities teach, help, and/or facilitate language development or afford learning opportunities in the language classroom?

How to submit:

Submit an abstract of your proposed book chapter in 300-500 words (excluding references). In your proposal, please state clearly the following:

  • The theoretical framework
  • The context of your research (country, language taught, student population)
  • How your contribution offers rigorous, original and significant work
  • Implications of your research on the field of materials research and/or practice in language teaching and learning

Submit your proposal via the form HERE (click the link).


Submission of book chapter proposal: August 1, 2019

Notification of acceptance for proposed book: September 1, 2019


This book is in consideration to be published in the Springer Educational Linguistics Series (series editor Francis M. Hult); all accepted book chapters will be peer reviewed. For additional information regarding the series please visit:


Darren K. LaScotte, M.A., University of Minnesota

Darren is Teaching Specialist at the University of Minnesota, where he teaches and researches in the areas of second language education and applied linguistics. Recent publications appear in the Modern Language Journal, Journal of Second Language Studies, and TESOL Journal. Within the broader scope of applied linguistics and sociolinguistics, his research interests include language education, interculturality, learner language variation, sociocultural theory, language play, and material mediation. Currently, Darren serves as technical editor of the online, practitioner-oriented journal MinneTESOL Journal and current Vice President (to be President) of MinneTESOL (an affiliate of TESOL International). contact:

Corinne S. Mathieu, M.A., University of Minnesota

Cory is Ph.D. candidate in the Second Language Education program at the University of Minnesota. Her research focuses on materials use and materials development for engendering content and language integration in secondary Spanish dual language and immersion (DLI) classrooms. Cory has worked as a teacher and teacher educator in the M.Ed. and Dual Language and Immersion certificate programs at the University of Minnesota, and was a high school Spanish teacher in Ohio prior to coming to the University. contact:

Sam S. David, Ph.D., University of Minnesota

Sam is Assistant Professor of Second Language Education in the College of Education and Human Development at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. He recently completed his doctoral work at Vanderbilt University, focusing on the literacy development of culturally and linguistically diverse students in mainstream classrooms, and on teacher learning of translingual and culturally responsive pedagogies. In 2015, Sam and his co-authors received the Alan C. Purves Award from the National Council of Teachers of English, an award given annually for an article published in Research in the Teaching of English judged as "likely to have the greatest impact on educational practice." He has presented at local, national, and international conferences in the areas of literacy research, bilingual education, and applied linguistics. Prior to pursuing a doctorate, Sam worked as a Spanish-English bilingual special education teacher in elementary and middle grades in Brooklyn, NY. contact: