The 23th CHAT Seminar

<Date & Time>
13:30-17:00 Monday, January 19, 2009

Conference Room, Center for Human Activity Theory (CHAT)
IBUNKAN 2F, Senriyama Campus, Kansai University

13:30 - 15:00 Presentation
Dr. Roger Barnard (Senior Lecturer, University of Waikato, New Zealand)
"Applying Activity Theory to facilitate international academic collaboration"

15:00 - 17:00 Commentary & Discussion
led by Professor Fred Anderson, Faculty of Letters, Kansai University

<Abstract for Presentation>
This presentation is set within the context of the increasing trend, and need, in the 21st century for international collaboration among universities. To be effective, such collaboration needs to be based on mutual understanding of the ways in which the respective institutions engage in their administration, research and teaching. It is suggested that Activity Theory can provide a useful framework for analysing academic communities of practice and hence to facilitate mutually beneficial collaboration.

The presentation will begin by briefly reviewing the basic constructs of Activity Theory (AT) with reference to the original model proposed by Leont'ev in the 1930s. Attention will then be turned to the expanded AT model proposed by Engeström (1987), and how this can serve to analyse the complex relationships between core activities and the underlying community rules and division of labour within an organisation such as a university. The strengths and major limitations of this 'second generation' of AT will be considered before a tentative 'third generation' AT model is proposed which can illuminate the ways in which two culturally-diverse activity systems can be aligned to facilitate effective academic collaboration between international partners.

It is hoped that the presentation will conclude with a plenary discussion of specific issues that can be analysed using the third generation AT model.

<Biographical Data>
Roger Barnard obtained his PhD from Southampton University and is a senior lecturer at the University of Waikato, where he has taught Applied Linguistics since 1995. Previously, he worked in England, Europe and the Middle East as Language Teacher, Director of English Language Institutes, Teacher Educator, and English Language Adviser to Ministries of Education. He frequently visits Asian countries, and has been Visiting Professor at Tsuda College, Tokyo and Hanoi National University, Vietnam. He publishes frequently, especially in the areas of second language teacher education and classroom interaction. His most recent book, co-edited with Maria Torres-Guzman of Teachers College Columbia University, was Creating classroom communities of learning: International case studies and perspectives, published in 2008 by Multilingual Matters.

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