Applied linguistics professors receive awards for book, distinguished service

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Two faculty members in the Penn State College of the Liberal Arts -- James Lantolf, Greer Professor in Language Acquisition and Applied Linguistics, and Matthew Poehner, associate professor of world languages education and applied linguistics -- have been awarded the Kenneth W. Mildenberger Prize by the Modern Language Association (MLA) for their book, "Sociocultural Theory and the Pedagogical Imperative in L2 Education: Vygotskian Praxis and the Research/Practice Divide," published by Routledge.

Lantolf has also been named recipient of the 2016 Distinguished Service and Scholarship Award given annually by the American Association of Applied Linguistics (AAAL).

MLA awards its prize annually to honor outstanding work in the fields of language, culture, literacy, and literature with strong application to the teaching of languages other than English. Meanwhile, AAAL presents its award each year to recognize a distinguished scholar for his or her scholarship and service to the profession in general and to AAAL in particular.

Lantolf is also director of the Center for Language Acquisition at Penn State and has served as co-director of the Center for Advanced Language Proficiency Education and Research (CALPER) since it was established in 2002. He has published widely in the area of applied linguistics and is co-author of "Sociocultural Theory and the Genesis of Second Language Development." He is past president and past co-editor of the leading journal Applied Linguistics, published by Oxford University Press. 

Lantolf’s research focuses on a wide number of theoretical issues in sociocultural theory and second language learning. “When the term sociocultural theory comes up in reference to applied linguistics, the first name that comes to mind for many of us is Jim Lantolf,” the awards committee noted in a release announcing his AAAL award. “[His] contribution to knowledge in the field of applied linguistics is impressive for the number of publications, the impact of those publications, and the scope of his work, which includes research and publications that are truly applied in nature.”

Poehner, who is also affiliated with the Center for Language Acquisition, is the author of "Dynamic Assessment: A Vygotskian Approach to Understanding and Promoting L2 Development," which was a finalist for the British Association for Applied Linguistics’ Book Prize for Outstanding Book in Applied Linguistics. He received the 2008 Pimsleur Award for Outstanding Research in Foreign Language Education. Poehner’s articles have appeared in numerous journals, including Modern Language Journal, Language and Sociocultural Theory, and International Review of Applied Linguistics, and he has served as co-guest editor of a special issue of Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy, and Practice.

Lantolf and Poehner are co-editors of "Sociocultural Theory and the Teaching of Second Languages" and the forthcoming "Routledge Handbook of Sociocultural Theory and Second Language Acquisition."

Last Updated January 12, 2016