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Academic Paper

Title: Blogs for specific purposes: Expressivist or socio-cognitivist
Author: Tríona Hourigan
Institution: University of Limerick
Linguistic Field: Applied Linguistics; Language Acquisition; Psycholinguistics
Abstract: This paper represents an earnest attempt to identify specific pedagogical roles for blogs in language learning. After briefly describing various types of blogs and defining their purposes (Herring et al, 2005) we attempt to accommodate their position and application within language teaching (Thorne & Scott Payne, 2005), relating evidence from teachers' blogs ( and also within Second Language Acquisition (SLA) theories.

In particular, we shall be concentrating on the process and post-process writing approaches (Matsuda, 2003), with particular emphasis on current cognitivist (Atkinson, 2003; Ferris & Hodgcock, 1998) and expressivist (Berlin, 1988) theories. These approaches will be discussed in terms of their effectiveness when establishing specific blog writing tasks. Whilst some researchers have advocated for a ‘lead blog’ or template for other students to follow (Stone, 2004), we have been seeking an eclectic approach based on the three approaches mentioned above. We shall describe our own blended task methodology (Abermann, 2004; Thorne, 2003) wherein language students at a Third Level Institution were set a blog writing task initially over a complete semester (12 weeks). The blog exercise employed both an early expressivist approach and later a (socio-) cognitivist one. Our findings, with examples from students' blogs (and also from students who continued their blogs over a 6 month period), will be presented as well as our recommendations for the integration of blogs into L2 virtual writing environments.


This article appears IN ReCALL Vol. 20, Issue 1, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .

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