Matthew E. Poehner

Matthew E. Poehner

Professor of World Languages Education and Applied Linguistics
159 Chambers Building University Park, PA 16802
Area(s) of Specialization: Language Assessment, Language Teacher Education, Second Language Acquisition, Sociocultural Theory


Ph.D. , French (Applied Linguistics), The Pennsylvania State University

Professional Bio

Matthew E. Poehner is Professor of World Languages Education and Applied Linguistics at The Pennsylvania State University. A former teacher of French and English as a second language in secondary and university settings, Dr. Poehner’s research engages Vygotskian Sociocultural Theory to understand processes of instructed L2 development and to organize educational environments and activities to promote learner language abilities. A major line of this work is devoted to Dynamic Assessment, a rethinking of assessment practice that embeds instruction as part of the procedure to broaden diagnoses of abilities. He has participated in collaborative Dynamic Assessment research projects in both classroom/tutoring environments and formal testing contexts in the U.S., Finland, China, and Israel. Results of this work have been reported in numerous journal articles and book chapters. Dr. Poehner’s recent publications include two co-edited volumes, The Routledge handbook of Sociocultural Theory and second language development (with J. P. Lantolf & M. Swain, 2018) and Toward a reconceptualization of second language classroom assessment. Praxis and researcher-teacher partnership (with O. Inbar-Lourie, Springer, 2020), and a co-authored book, Sociocultural Theory and second language developmental education (with J. P. Lantolf, Cambridge University Press, to appear). In 2014, he won the Kenneth W. Mildenberger book award by The Modern Language Association for Sociocultural Theory and the Pedagogical Imperative in L2 Education (Routledge) (with J. P. Lantolf). His teaching includes undergraduate and graduate courses on Vygotskian Sociocultural Theory, philosophy of science and educational research traditions, second language acquisition theory, language testing and assessment, and second language teaching methods. He is immediate Past President of the International Association for Cognitive Education and Psychology and is Associate Editor of the journal Language and Sociocultural Theory (Equinox).

Selected Recent Articles and Book Chapters

Poehner, M. E. & Lantolf, J. P. (2023). Advancing L2 Dynamic Assessment: Innovations in Chinese contexts. Language Assessment Quarterly. 

Lantolf, J. P. & Poehner, M. E. (2023). Sociocultural Theory and classroom second language learning in the East Asian context. The Modern Language Journal. 

Poehner, M. E. & Leontjev, D. (advanced publication online 2022). Interaction, mediation, and a view of teachers as creators of learner L2 development. International Journal of Applied Linguistics. 

Poehner, M. E. & Yu, L. (advanced publication online 2022). Dynamic Assessment of L2 Writing: Exploring the potential of rubrics as mediation in diagnosing learner emerging abilities. TESOL Quarterly. 

Infante, P. & Poehner, M. E. (2021). Alex the toolmaker: Tool-and-result activity in the L2 learning context. Linguistics and Education 63. 

Poehner, M. E. & Lantolf, J. P. (2021). The ZPD, second language learning, and the transposition~transformation dialectic. Cultural-Historical Psychology 17(3): 31-41. 

Poehner, M. E. & Wang, Z. (2021). Timeline: Dynamic Assessment of L2 Development. Language Teaching. 

Poehner, M. E., & Pasterick, M. (2020). A Vygotskian approach to mediating learner intercultural competence during study abroad. International Review of Applied Linguistics in Language Teaching.