11 Materializing Linguistic Concepts through 3-D Clay Modeling: A Tool-and-Result Approach to Mediating L2 Spanish Development
Edgaging: Empowering Education
Matthew E. Poehner [+]
The Pennsylvania State University
The fifth and final chapter in this subsection by Serrano-Lopez and Poehner, ‘Materializing Linguistic Concepts through 3-D Clay Modeling: A Tool-and-Result Approach to Mediating L2 Spanish Development,’ discusses the results of a study which took a slightly different twist with regard to how the concept, in this case, locative prepositions in Spanish, are modeled. Instead of the instructor providing the model or asking the students to draw the model, students were encouraged to build their own 3-D clay models to illustrate the meaning of locative prepositions in the language. The argument the authors put forth to support the value of such an approach is based on Newman and Holzman’s (1993) claim that effective instruction must allow learners to build their own mediation means (i.e., tool-and-result) rather than providing them with prepackaged materials (i.e., tools-for-result). This chapter resonates well with Negueruela’s call for a revolutionary pedagogy, although the authors of this chapter take a different stance on how to concretize such a pedagogy from what is proposed by Negueruela. The study compared students who received instruction in the concept and then modeled it in clay with students who were given instruction in the concept only. Given that the modeling group outperformed the concept-only group of learners, the study confirms Vygotsky’s argument that memorization of the definition of a concept alone does not result in genuine development. The definition must be connected to concrete activity.