Karen E. Johnson

Karen E. Johnson

Kirby Professor in Language Learning and Applied Linguistics
302 Sparks Building
(814) 863-2346
Area(s) of Specialization: Communication in Second Language Classrooms, Narrative Inquiry as Professional Development, Sociocultural Perspectives on L2 Teacher Professional Development
Karen E. Johnson

Curriculum Vitae


Ph.D. , English Education, Syracuse University

Professional Bio

Karen E. Johnson is Kirby Professor of Language Learning and Applied Linguistics at The Pennsylvania State University. Her scholarship has been devoted to building theory and conducting research on L2 teacher cognition within and for the field of L2 teacher education. Grounded in a Vygotskian sociocultural ‘theory of mind’, her scholarship centers on understanding the learning of L2 teaching, the activity of L2 teaching, and the practices of L2 teacher education. She has accomplished this by empirically documenting the dialogic mediation that emerges inside the practices of L2 teacher education, tracing L2 teacher development as it is unfolding, and detailing the consequences of these interactions on the ways in which L2 teachers begin to think about and attempt to enact their instructional practices with L2 students in the socially situated institutions in which they live and work. Additionally, she has argued that the transformative power of teachers engaging in narrative activities lies in its ability to ignite cognitive processes that can foster L2 teacher professional development and, as a result, critical to the design, enactment, and assessment of the consequences of L2 teacher education. She has published nine scholarly books, the most recent Praxis-oriented Pedagogy for Novice L2 Teacher: Developing Teacher Reasoning (2023, Routledge). At the core of this book lies a unique set of pedagogical concepts: linguistically compact, conceptually rich chunks of language that function as psychological tools for L2 teaching. In the MA TESL and the Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics degree programs, she teaches courses in Teaching English as a Second Language (APLNG 493), Teaching L2 Writing (APLNG 410), Communication in Second Language Classrooms (APLNG 572), Theory and Research in Language Teacher Education (APLNG 587), and Sociocultural Theory and L2 Learning (APLNG 584).

Select Recent Articles and Book Chapters

Rieker, J., & Johnson, K. E. (forthcoming, 2023). Dialogic (re)storying: A novel methodology for provoking second language teacher development across the career span. TESL-EJ.

Amory, M. A., Johnson, K. E. (forthcoming, 2023). Provoking novice teacher development: Cognition-and-emotion in learning-to-teach. System.

Johnson, K. E. (2022). Mentoring as mediation: Shifting novice teacher instructional stance. The European Journal of Applied Linguistics and TEFL, 11, 3-21.

Agnoletto, M. A., Dellagnelo, A. K., & Johnson, K. E. (2021). Perezhivanie in action: A novice teacher's refraction of mediated dramatic events. Language and Sociocultural Theory, 8, 153-179.

Golombek, P.R. & Johnson, K.E. (2021). Recurrent restorying in research on language teacher development. V 102 System,  (102) https://doi.org/10.1016/j.system.2021.102601

Johnson, K.E., Verity, D.P., & Childs, S.S. (2020) Praxis-oriented pedagogy and the development of L2 novice teacher expertise.  The European Journal of Applied Linguistics and TEFL,  9,  3-23.

Johnson, K. E. & Golombek, P. (2020). Informing and transforming language teacher education pedagogy. Language Teaching Research, 24, 116-127.

Johnson, K. E. (2019). The relevance of a transdisciplinary framework for SLA in language teacher education. The Modern Language Journal 103, 167-174.

Golombek, P. & Johnson, K. E. (2019). Envisioning and materializing a Vygotskian-inspired language teacher education pedagogy.  In S. Mann & S. Walsh (Eds). The Routledge Handbook of Language Teacher Education, (pp. 25-37). NY: Routledge.

Johnson, K. E. (2018). Studying language teacher cognition: Understanding and enacting theoretically consistent instructional practices.  Language Teaching Research, 22(3),  259-263.

Golombek, P. R. & Johnson, K. E. (2017) Re-conceptualizing teachers’ narrative inquiry as professional development. PROFILE: Issues in Teacher Professional Development, 19(2), 15-28.

Johnson, K. E. (2015). Reclaiming the relevance of L2 teacher education. The Modern Language Journal. 99(3), 515–528.

Johnson, K. E., & Worden, D. (2014). Cognitive/emotional dissonance as growth points in learning to teach. Language and Sociocultural Theory, 2(1),  125-150.

Johnson, K. E., & Dellagnelo, A. (2013). How 'sign meaning develops': Strategic mediation in learning to teach. Language Teaching Research, 17(4), 409-432.

Johnson, K. E. & Golombek, P. R. (2018). Making L2 teacher education matter through Vygotskian-inspired pedagogy and research. In J. P. Lantolf & M. E. Poehner (Eds), Handbook of Sociocultural Theory and Second Language Development (pp. 443-456.) NY: Routledge.

Johnson, K. E. (2016). Language teacher education.  In G. Hall (Ed.), The Routledge Handbook of English Language Teaching, (pp. 121-134). London: Routledge.