Meaningfully Designing and Implementing SCOBAs in Socioculturally-based L2 Teacher Education Programs


  • Olga Esteve University of Pompeu Fabra
  • Laura Farró Pompeu Fabra University
  • Conchi Rodrigo Instituto Cervantes
  • Elena Verdía Instituto Cervantes



teacher agency; professional development; mediated conceptual expansion; double stimulation; conceptual and procedural SCOBAs


In recent years, the adoption of a socioculturally based perspective on teacher development has led to significant advances in L2 teacher education (Esteve, 2018a; Lantolf and Esteve, 2019; Johnson, 2009; Johnson and Golombek, 2016; Negueruela, 2011). The authors’ practice-based research over the past ten years on the impact of socioculturally based formative interventions on teacher professional development has shown that conceptual mediation through SCOBAs enables (student) teachers to gain new ways of thinking and acting in the classroom (Esteve, 2018a; Esteve, Fernández and Bes, 2018; Lantolf and Esteve, 2019). Conceptual mediation consists of promoting a dialectic relationship between everyday concepts and scientific concepts, and more specifically between everyday concepts and core concepts. Core concepts are the scientific concepts informing the socioculturally based perspective of language teaching and learning that are to be appropriated by the (student) teachers throughout the formative interventions. After being introduced to core concepts, (student) teachers progressively appropriate them throughout a structured mediational process, a process that enables them to informedly design and carry out, from their own agency, purposeful, pedagogically valid classroom practices.


The article specifically seeks to answer the following questions that are often posed by teacher educators willing to adopt a sociocultural perspective in their formative interventions: 1) how to select the scientific concepts for SCOBA-driven formative interventions; 2) how to design SCOBAs and 3) how to facilitate the appropriation of the selected concepts so that they become psychological tools. To this end, the article focuses on the criteria guiding the selection of core concepts, as well as on the tools that help (student) teachers to apprehend them and, by that means, to develop new ways of thinking and acting.


Author Biographies

  • Olga Esteve, University of Pompeu Fabra

    Olga Esteve is a retired faculty member in the Department of Translation and Language Science of the University Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona). She currently works as an educational consultant to public schools and specializes in transformative teacher education. Her research interests include sociocultural theory, teacher professional development, and concept-based instruction.

  • Laura Farró, Pompeu Fabra University

    Laura Farró specializes in teacher education. She is currently a collaborating professor of the Master’s Degrees in Secondary School Training at Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona; she also works as an educational consultant in public schools. Her research interests include sociocultural theory and interactionist mediation processes.

  • Conchi Rodrigo, Instituto Cervantes

    Conchi Rodrigo is currently working as an educational technician in the Department of Teacher Education of the Instituto Cervantes. She has participated in a number of projects focusing on the development and assessment of teacher competencies. Her research interests include teacher professional development from the sociocultural perspective.

  • Elena Verdía, Instituto Cervantes

    Elena Verdía is currently the head of the teacher education department of Instituto Cervantes. Her research focuses on teacher professional development in a sociocultural perspective, especially on conceptualization. She has participated in projects related to teachers competencies development as Competencias clave del profesorado de lenguas segundas y extranjeras (Instituto Cervantes, 2012) and European Profiling Grid for Languaje Teachers (EGP) (Council of Europe, 2013).


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How to Cite

Esteve, O., Farró, L., Rodrigo, C., & Verdía, E. (2021). Meaningfully Designing and Implementing SCOBAs in Socioculturally-based L2 Teacher Education Programs. Language and Sociocultural Theory, 8(1), 8-34.