First language acquisition as a guide for theories of learning and pedagogy

James Paul Gee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


This article looks closely at the earliest periods of first language acquisition, and draws from this data explicit principles arguably applicable more generally to other sorts of learning, whether academic disciplines or complex skills. The principles are meant to be suggestive and to contribute to the development of a first language acquisition-based theory of learning. I argue that this theory constitutes the progressive aspect of efficacious pedagogies, but that a close look at first language acquisition also shows where progressive (immersion-like) pedagogies must be supplemented and transcended. In the end, what is needed is a theory of learning and pedagogy that is "post-progressive" in the sense of retaining the best elements of progressivism, while speaking directly to issues where first language acquisition is not a good guide for loter learning environments.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)331-354
Number of pages24
JournalLinguistics and Education
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education
  • Linguistics and Language


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