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  • Pedagogical norms for second and foreign language learning and teaching ed. by Susan Gass et al.
  • María del Pilar García Mayo
Pedagogical norms for second and foreign language learning and teaching. Ed. by Susan Gass, Kathleen Bardovi-Harlig, Sally Sieloff Magnan, and Joel Walz. (Language learning and language teaching.) Amsterdam: John Benjamins, 2002. Pp. 305. ISBN 1588112624. $32.95.

This book reconsiders the concept of pedagogical norm, in existence since the 1960s, and focuses on its impact on research and pedagogy. In their introduction, Kathleen Bardovi-Harlig and Susan Gass define pedagogical norms as ‘a combination of language systems and forms selected by linguists and pedagogues to serve as the immediate language target, or targets, that learners seek to acquire during their language study’ (3).

The volume (in honor of Albert Valdman) is made up of twelve chapters, divided into three sections: Section 1, ‘Defining pedagogical norms’, Section 2, ‘Applying pedagogical norms’, and Section 3, ‘Extending pedagogical norms’. Sally Sieloff Magnan and JoelWalzs opening chapter, ‘Pedagogical norms: Development of the concept and illustrations from French’, traces the development of the notion of pedagogical norm over four decades while reviewing Albert Valdman’s writings on the topic. In the second chapter, ‘Norms, native speakers, and reversing language shift’, Bernard Spolsky provides a historical context for the concept of norm and emphasizes its vital function in language learning and teaching, but he also argues for the need to consider the existence and special meaning of language diversity. In ‘Standard, norm, and variability in language learning: A view from foreign language research’, Claire Kramsch examines both second and foreign language research and practice and argues for ‘a beneficial cross-fertilization between FL standards and SL norms’ (71). In ‘French immersion in Montréal: Pedagogical norm and functional competence’, Julie Auger explores the notion of pedagogical norm in the context of the teaching of Québec French to Anglophones in immersion programs and provides suggestions for curriculum design.

In the second section, ‘Applying pedagogical norms’, Bill VanPatten (‘Communicative classrooms, processing instruction, and pedagogical norms’) and James Lee (‘The initial impact of reading as input for the acquisition of future tense morphology in Spanish’) explore the psycholinguistic dimension of pedagogical norms and propose pedagogical practices based on input processing. Laurie Anne Ramsey (‘Treating French intonation: Observed variation and suggestions for a pedagogical norm’) suggests intonational contours appropriate to present as a pedagogical norm at three different levels of acquisition. In ‘Dislocated subjects in French: A pedagogical norm’, Helene Ossipov shows that dislocated constituents are commonly used in French and argues for the introduction of a pedagogical norm to teach them at beginning and intermediate levels, whereas Betsy J. Kerr (‘Variant word-order constructions: To teach or not to teach? Evidence from learner narratives’) advocates delaying the presentation of those orders until learners have a greater competence in the foreign/second language.

The three chapters that make up the last section of the book, Cynthia A. Fox’s ‘Incorporating variation in the French classroom: A pedagogical norm for listening comprehension’, Sarah Jourdain and Mary Ellen Scullen’s ‘A pedagogical norm for circumlocution in French’, and Carl Blyth’s ‘Between orality and literacy: Developing a pedagogical norm for narrative discourse’ extend the notion of pedagogical norm to listening comprehension, communication strategies, and narrative discourse, respectively.

The last chapter of the book, ‘Albert Valdman, the compassionate shepherd’, is by Harry L. Gradman. He recalls when he met Professor Valdman, his teacher and dissertation director, and takes the reader through different periods of his mentor’s life. The book concludes with a detailed account of Professor Valdman’s education and publications and with a subject index. [End Page 802]

María del Pilar García Mayo
Universidad del País Vasco


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