How Can Lev Vygotsky's Theory of Inner Speech Be Useful in Understanding the Writing Process?




White, Susan

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This thesis describes Lev Vygotsky's theory of inner speech and discusses how it may be useful for understanding the development of the writing process. This thesis draws from Vygotsky's writings as translated by scholars in a range of fields, such as psychology, linguistics, human learning and child development. It incorporates interpretations and commentaries about Vygotsky's work found in the scholarly literature. In reviewing this literature, one finds there have been important discussions of inner speech as it relates to the reading process, but not enough has been written about how inner speech could potentially influence the writing process. In this thesis, inner speech is addressed for how it may play a role in early expressions of the composing process when writing.

First, this thesis begins with a brief biographical sketch of Vygotsky. Second, it describes the developmental stage of inner speech as a step in oral language development and central to the ability to process written language. I look at how inner speech may be useful in propelling the early stages of the writing process. Third, given the large number of second language (L2) learners in schools, this thesis briefly considers how inner speech may play a role in the writing process for L2 learners. Finally, I conclude with noting that there needs to be attention to how inner speech might be studied by researchers and cultivated by teachers in writing.


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inner speech, reading, Vygotsky, writing



Interdisciplinary Learning and Teaching