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Dustin Hosseini SLA Unit Assignment The ZPD, scaffolding, and the effort to comprehend: three concepts that

language teachers should consider in facilitating the second language acquisition of learners 11 January 2009 The University of Bath Trevor Grimshaw

Introduction
Teachers of language, both new and experienced, often face certain variables in the classroom that require careful attention and consideration. Some of these variables include, but are not limited to: the place, context, and means of instruction; class size; the learners L1 and L2 background; students of mixed ability; and motivation (Drnyei, 2001; Tsui, 2001; Lightbown and Spada, 2006; Harmer, 2007). At times in my teaching career, I have experienced certain issues: the level the student was tested into did not match that of the textbook. Several classes consisted of learners possessing, at times, extreme varying degrees of knowledge. Another issue involved student participation in the lesson, or a lack thereof, due to the difculty or simplicity of the lesson. Finally, another problem was that some students had a relatively deep knowledge of grammar and lexis, but seriously lacked the ability to produce spoken language, and in understanding the language as spoken by others, including myself as the teacher. In my opinion, such issues are important and relatively common ones a new teacher might face, and these can be somewhat disconcerting if not completely discouraging for a relatively inexperienced teacher, such as myself. Perhaps these issues that I have faced in the classroom can be attributed to individual differences in second language learning (Drnyei and Skehan, 2003; Lightbown and Spada, 2006). However, I feel that as the teacher, certain tools already exist to assist me in the classroom to alleviate and hopefully solve these issues. It is from my personal experiences as a language teacher that motivate me to nd, analyze, and present solutions to the aforementioned issues. As I value professional development in teaching, I hope that what I present in this paper will help me further that professional development. The aim of this paper is to equip me, a teacher, with a few tools that I can use in the classroom to help facilitate the second language acquisition of my students. The question in this paper that I pose is as follows:

RQ1: #How can (a) Vygotskys concept of zone of proximal development, (b) scaffolding, and (c) Prabhus effort to comprehend assist me in facilitating the # econd s language acquisition of my students? In this paper, I will discuss, analyze, and dene these terms within their appropriate sections. For (A) Vygotskys concept zone of proximal development and (B) the notion of scaffolding I will provide what I feel is a practical application of these ideas in the classroom. For (C) Prabhus effort to comprehend, I hope to show how (A) and (B) can lead to the organic development of (C).

A. Vygotskys concept of zone of proximal development


I feel that one of the more abstract tools that language teachers can use in the classroom is Vygotskys (1978:86) concept, the zone of proximal development (ZPD henceforth). In this section, I will review the literature about the ZPD, after which I will choose what I feel is the best denition of the ZPD for this paper. Finally, I will provide an example that can be used as a practical application of the ZPD within the context of the second language acquisition (also known as SLA) of adults. Vygotskys ZPD concept holds an important part in sociocultural theory (Ellis, 2008). Underlying this idea is Vygotskys view that a child acquires concepts rst through social interaction with others, and only then intrapersonally where are those concepts are thus internalized. I will discuss how some of the experts views of the ZPD concept below. 1) Varying interpretations of the ZPD concept

Several experts have commented on the ZPD, its meaning, and signicance (Lantolf and Aljaafreh 1995; Dunn and Lantolf, 1998; Nassaji and Cumming, 2000; Kinginger, 2002; Lantolf, and Thorne, 2006; Ellis, 2008). In this section, I will rst dene the ZPD as Vygotsky has, then I will present critically a few of the experts views in relation to Vygotskys original concept.

The denition of the ZPD is (Vygotsky, 1978:86): the distance between a childs actual developmental level as determined by independent problem solving and the level of potential development as determined through problem solving under guidance or in collaboration with more capable peers. Some experts, however, have their own interpretations (Kinginger, 2002), some which relate the ZPD to other areas such as skills acquisition (Gifford and Mullaney, 1999:15 as cited in Kinginger, 2002), scaffolding (Antn, 1999 as cited in Kinginger, 2002), and metalinguistic interpretation (Kinginger, 2002; Ellis, 2008). I will briey present these views. The skills interpretation (Kinginger, 2002, citing Gifford and Mullaney, 1999:15) relates to the interaction that takes place in a classroom between learners and the expert, in addition to equating Vygotskys ZPD concept directly to Krashens Input Hypothesis, or i+1. This view would then appear to reduce Vygotskys concept from the original idea of being a relatively amorphous, changing area within the learners development to such classroom practices as group and pair work where students collaborate in the target language. I feel this interpretation, while interesting, appears to stray radically from Vygotskys idea in that it seeks simply to label the ZPD concept onto various practices and methods teachers have used for years in the classroom to facilitate learning. Turning to the next interpretation of the ZPD concept (Antn, 1999 as cited in Kinginger, 2002:254; Ellis, 2008:527), this position aims to equate one aspect of the ZPD concept, that a more knowledgeable peer can assist a less capable one, with the idea of scaffolding. Some evidence relating the ZPD concept to scaffolding comes from a study done on the discourse of formal instruction and the teacher-student interaction (Antn, 1999). The example from the study takes a traditional tactic employed by teachers in the language classroom: a teacher of French poses a question to a student with the hope of eliciting the correct response. Upon hearing the incorrect answer from the student, the teacher responds paralinguistically to the student by raising her eyebrows, thus both indicating that the student has erred and eliciting a correct response from the student. So, it would seem
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that through nonverbally signaling to the student that the students answer is incorrect, that this is seen as scaffolding the students learning. This interpretation is seemingly meant to relate, if not completely equate the ZPD to the ideas of IRF/IRE (Initiation-Response-Feedback/Initiation-Response-Evaluation) (Wood et al., 1976, as cited in Kinginger, 2002:254). A traditional classroom practice employed by teachers, in this case IRF/IRE, has been relabeled as the ZPD concept, or scaffolding, or both by some writers (Antn, 1999). However, according to Thorne (2009, pers. comm., 2 December 2009), scaffolding and the ZPD are not the same, though they are often equated with other another in literature, with some holding the view that the ZPD means assisted performance. Scaffolding is what peers or teachers do to assist learners -- it is, as a metaphorical mapping of [sic] its name suggests, a "scaffold" (i.e., the teacher) built around an inert and damaged or in-progress structure (i.e., the student or learner) (ibid.). Moving on to the last point in this section, we now turn to the metalinguistic interpretation of the ZPD concept as reported by Kinginger (2002:255-256) from a series of research and publications by Swain and colleagues. As Kinginger (ibid.) afrms, the position taken by these experts relates to the idea of collaborative dialogue, which is described by Swain (2000:113, as cited in Kinginger, 2002): Collaborative dialogue is problem-solving and, hence, knowledge-building dialogue. When a collaborative effort is being made by participants in an activity, their speaking (or writing) mediates this effort... Through saying and reecting on what is said, new knowledge is constructed. I interpret collaborative effort in the classroom to mean learners working in pairs/small groups assisting each other to achieve a task. Additionally, if I consider what Swain describes here and contrast it with Thornes aforementioned view of scaffolding, then it appears that Swains idea relates to scaffolding, and not the ZPD concept. Kinginger (ibid.) calls the fruits of such an example objects for metalinguistic reection, with the rationale behind this take on the ZPD concept is that student peer-interaction in
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performing tasks in the classroom leads to active language use and development, which then causes the student to think critically about what has been covered in the classroom. While I feel that this view is important for language learning in the classroom, I believe that it relates more to the idea of scaffolding/peer assistance, than to the ZPD concept. I feel this interpretation, therefore, lies outside the boundaries of the Vygotskys ZPD concept. In the next section, I will briey explain the denition of the ZPD concept that I have chosen for this paper. 2) The denition of the zone of proximal development

Having presented Vygotskys ZPD concept (1978:86) and the views of some of the experts in the eld, I will now choose the best denition of the ZPD concept for this paper. I interpret Vygotskys idea of the ZPD as an abstract, exible area of a persons development that denes the limits between which one can learn independently, which thus leads to development. Progress within the ZPD leads to a person being able to progress from relatively simple tasks to more complex ones. However, upon reaching the boundaries of the ZPD (i.e. tasks that are too difcult), and in order for further learning and subsequent development to occur, the [learner] requires assistance through interaction with an interlocutor (Lightbown and Spada, 2006:206). In terms of the second language acquisition of learners, this interlocutor could be a more knowledgeable learner or the teacher. I choose this denition along with my interpretation as it accurately reects what, I feel, Vygotsky might have intended with his original construct, whether it be applied to children or adult learners: teachers should grade the lessons to the students, but the grading changes over time as the students develop and progress in the L2. An approximation of Vygotskys concept best suits the needs, in my opinion, of a developing teacher such as myself. In the next section, I will present briey one practical application of the ZPD concept.

3)

Applying the ZPD concept

One practical application of the ZPD, I feel, is already known and understood by some experienced teachers. The ZPD concept can be used actively by the teacher on a daily basis in the classroom to ne tune the difculty level of activities, so that students are presented with a task that is achievable, but challenging at the same time. I feel that a task that reasonably challenges the learner generally presents that learner with some advanced or new information, which requires the learner to put in effort and move forward, if success is to be achieved. This progression leads, I feel, to the expansion of the ZPD. Outside the classroom and especially in the language school context, I feel that thorough level testing should be done across the skills. In my opinion, this will ensure that students are properly tested into the most appropriate level, and thus be with students of a level approximating their own. Teachers can take part in this process by liaising with a schools student recruitment/administration, and advising these department(s) of errors in the level testing. However, at times when some activities do present difculties for the student and those activities are within the students ZPD, the concept of scaffolding can be put to use. I will discuss this idea in the next section.

B. Scaffolding
1) The denition of scaffolding"

From the literature, I have found that scaffolding is another potentially useful tool for language teachers. First, I will briey dene the experts views of scaffolding. Then I will choose what I feel is the best denition of scaffolding for this paper. Finally, I will present a few practical examples of how I can apply scaffolding in the classroom. Over the years scaffolding, like the ZPD concept, has been interpreted by psychologists and educators in numerous ways (Bruner, 1978; Foley, 1994; Clarks and Graves; 2005; Ellis, 2008). Clark and Graves (2005:571) state that it was rst used in an educational context by Wood, Bruner, and Ross (1976) who described scaffolding as a process that enables a child or novice to solve a problem, carry out a task or achieve a goal which would be beyond his unassisted efforts (p.90) (as cited by Clark and Graves, ibid.). To further this point, Bruner (1978) is cited by Foley (1994) as describing scaffolding as
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assistance that helps facilitate learning that is provided to the child by a caregiver, who is usually one step ahead of the child (Foley, 1994:101). Ellis (2008:235) further explains the denition that Woods, Bruner, and Ross give by describing scaffolding as an inter-psychological process that internalizes dialogically what students learn. In other words, learners understand and process ideas and concepts through dialogue and interaction with other learners or more learned others. A good example of this is when learners with a beginners level of English are assisted and guided by the teacher in and through various activities in the classroom; this assistance facilitates learners becoming more independent in the learning process. However, as Clark and Graves (2005:570-572) afrm that other experts describe scaffolding as: supporting children in situations so they can advance their skills and knowledge; a teachers actions and use of language that enable children to complete cognitively difcult tasks; when the teacher monitors student learning and provides contingent assistance; a temporary support structure the teacher makes to help students in completing a task that requires expert assistance; assistance a knowledgeable other (i.e. teacher or adult) provides to facilitate progress towards a goal until the less knowledgeable other (i.e. student or child) can function effectively alone; and support provided by an expert (teacher, adult, etc.) to the learner when that learner can benet, perhaps cognitively and psychologically, from such support. Furthermore, scaffolding has been described in SLA when a knowledgeable participant creates supportive conditions through speech, so that the learner can participate while extending their current skills and knowledge to higher levels of competence (Donato, citing Greeneld, 1984; Wood, Bruner, and Ross, 1976 in 1994:40). In contrast, scaffolding in SLA has also been identied as support that two learners can give each other in performing activities; this is one denition I feel is of most importance. 2) An idea of scaffolding from personal experience

There are clearly varying interpretations of the idea of scaffolding, with some of these seemingly building upon, if not overlapping one another. This constant reinterpretation (Clark and Graves, 2005:570-572) might cause some confusion for the language teacher who seeks to dene this term and practically apply it. However, I feel that there is one
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particularly important and valid denition that encompasses most if not all-aforementioned views on scaffolding. However, it is not without its limitations. According to Tsui (in Carter and Nunan, 2001:226) scaffolding is: the support given to language learners to enable them to perform tasks and construct communications which are at the time beyond their capability. I feel that Tsuis denition is the key to understanding scaffolding, as it closely relates to my own ideas and views. In addition, Tsuis view on scaffolding (ibid.) effectively covers the different aspects of assisting language learners without explicitly stating whether that support given is (non)verbal or a mix of both, nor does it state the extent to which assistance is provided. Rather, Tsui (ibid.) afrms that the assistance which learners receive is what helps them in performing and progressing through tasks and activities in the classroom. However, Tsuis denition (ibid.) does not identify precisely who is providing the assistance to the learners; she does not explicitly state that there is an expert, nor does she state that the expert is an adult. From this, I can surmise that learners can scaffold each other, i.e. novice-novice interaction (Ellis, 2008:236). Conrming this assumption are three different studies (Donato, 1994; Kowal and Swain, 1997; Ohta, 2000) which show that learners can collectively and collaboratively scaffold each others in learning, which might otherwise present difculties at an individual level. To further this point more specically, Kowal and Swains (ibid.) study concerning collaborative text reconstruction nds that learners can collaborate in choosing the correct forms of language to employ when reconstructing a text. Learners are able to work together, discuss language forms, and decide on the most appropriate forms to use as a group. Ohtas study shows that learners can prompt each other, co-construct language, and use recasts to scaffold each others learning (Ellis, 2008:236-237). Obviously there are different interpretations of scaffolding. However, I have chosen Tsuis as the best possible denition of scaffolding that I can use in facilitating the second language acquisition of students in the classroom. In the next section, I will briey show how scaffolding can assist the language teacher.
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3)

A practical idea for using scaffolding in the language classroom

I feel that from personal experience, scaffolding can be used by the language teacher in the classroom to facilitate effective learning. In my four short years of teaching English as a second/foreign language to Chinese, Russian, and Emirati learners, I began to realize at a certain point that it is not entirely possible for me to do all the teaching when it comes to teaching large groups (over 8 learners). I have found that power should be delegated to students to facilitate learning. However, I believe that giving power to students does not mean standing back and allowing them to control every aspect of a lesson. In my opinion, scaffolding means delegating power with support to the students and appreciating the chance and ability to step back quietly from the lesson and covertly observe students in action. However, before a teacher can do this, students must rst be equipped with the necessary tools that will allow them to succeed in facilitating their own acquisition of the second language. I will explain one example from my own personal experience, one has succeeded numerous times in getting students to think for themselves and support their own language development. Equipping the students comes in many forms. For example, while the students are doing a collaborative spoken exercise, in which for example, students are conducting interviews to nd out more information about each others free time activities/hobbies. While this is happening, elements that Ohta (Ellis, 2008:236-237) observed are probably taking place. The teacher, however, can simply remain silent, walk around, and observe the students engaging in the task. During this time, the teacher focuses on the language that students use, and this includes observing both lexical and grammatical usage. The teacher notes down errors within their own contexts. Then, either while the students are still speaking or immediately after the students have nished the task, the teacher writes the errors in their original form on the board. Five to ten errors are usually enough, but the errors should reect what the teacher feels would benet learners as individuals and as a class. The errors can be highlighted/ underlined, but this additional scaffolding is optional and contingent upon the students needs.

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The next step is to invite students to analyze and reect upon their errors silently for a minute or two. Then students should be encouraged to correct the errors, and this can be done either as a whole class, in pairs, or individuals going up to the board to correct an individual example. For example if a student says, I play tennis yesterday, the error is the verb form of play, which should be played to reect past tense usage. Another example might be if a student says, Denis [male student] draw in her free time. In either case, the teacher rst writes the example on the board and elicits the errors. If students detect no errors, the teacher can then underline the errors play, draw, and her, then draw students attention to the errors, work in pairs/groups, then elicit the correct answers. Having the students work as a group or in pairs to recognize and correct errors are good examples of the ndings that are mentioned in the two of the studies I discussed in the previous section. Whether as a group or working in pairs, the learners can interactively and mutually assist and scaffold one another in the understanding and acquisition of language. Hopefully, the end result is that the students will see their errors and correct them either by themselves or through the assistance of their peers without further teacher [expert] intervention. Having discussed the ZPD in section A, and scaffolding in this section and how they can assist me, the language teacher, I will now turn to Prabhus idea of effort to comprehend.

C. Prabhus (1987:72) effort to comprehend


In the previous sections on the Vygotskys ZPD concept and the idea of scaffolding, I have sought to present at least one practical application of these ideas. However, in this section, I will discuss a, perhaps, slightly lesser known concept and its denition. I will also discuss how, I feel, this concept can organically develop in the classroom from practical application of the two previous topics of this paper. This concept is Prabhus effort to comprehend (ibid.). #

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1)

Dening Prabhus idea

The background of Prabhus idea of an effort to comprehend is grounded within the stance that students must be given a reasonable challenge to be motivated to achieve success in the classroom, which can be interpreted as doing well in the class, winning the approval of the teacher, or gaining the respect of classmates. These traditional sources of feeling a sense of success in the classroom are, of course, in addition to what Prabhu calls the intellectual pleasure of nding solutions to the problems in [task-based] learning activities in the language classroom (1987:56). This seems to mean learning because one enjoys the challenge of the learning process and tasks presented to the learner. Turning to the next point, according to Prabhu (ibid.) learner engagement in a task is important for language learning, but a certain measure of success provides a basis for maintaining learners desire to make that effort in the classroom. Repeated failure can be demoralizing and cause frustration for the learner. However, Prabhu (ibid.) states that it is important for the teacher to regulate the challenge and to have some notion of what represents reasonable challenge for a given class, and that the idea of a reasonable challenge means that, learners should not be able to meet the challenge too easily but should be able to meet it with some effort. Prabhu (1987:68) himself states that Vygotskys ZPD concept appears to support this notion of a reasonable challenge, that is, one that is attainable but not easily so. From my own experience, when students are given a task that was out of their ZPD, or what Prabhu might call an unattainable task, the students would struggle through the task and often give up without making any effort towards accomplishment, or request assistance with nearly every aspect of the task. In either case, the students left the lesson feeling less motivated and condent of themselves than they had before the start of the lesson. When, however, the task is aimed appropriately to create a reasonably attainable and meaningful (Prabhu, 1987:71) challenge to the students current level of knowledge, that task requires some effort to achieve the result (perhaps (sub)conscious abstract structure, such as an area of grammar like the present perfect). This leads to the student further investing in effort which draws on those abstract linguistic structures that have been (in) accurately formed, whether rmly or faintly (ibid.).
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Thus, every effort by the student to comprehend or convey meaning in the classroom involves using abstract structures of language, and each time the student deploys such newly learned structures, this leads to further development of a students knowledge of the second language that is being learned (Prabhu, 1987:72). Perhaps, this success in learning leads to students wanting to learn and achieve more tasks, and thus putting more effort into future tasks, as well as the gradual growth of internal linguistic competence (Prabhu, 1987:71). In sum, from what I can extrapolate from Prabhus position, we have a seemingly workable denition of what Prabhu means by the effort to comprehend, which I interpret to mean as follows: a students motivation to learn and achieve which arises out of careful consideration by the teacher who creates meaningful tasks that present an attainable challenge (i.e. considering the students ZPD) to the student, while taking into consideration the students needs, perceptions, and level of experience with the second language. 2) What effort to comprehend means for the teacher

It would appear that intrinsic motivation plays a role in what Prabhu labels as the intellectual pleasure (1987:56) in learning. Intrinsic motivation is described by Ryan and Deci (2000:56) as ...the doing of an activity for its inherent satisfactions rather than for some separable consequence. I interpret this as learning that is driven by the pleasure to learn. However, this appears to relate to the intellectual pleasure one might achieve in learning, for example, another language, but that some amount of success would probably help drive this pleasure of learning. In the previous section, I also discussed the effort to comprehend and success in learning is followed by further learner investment in learning (Prabhu, 1987). I feel that this further investment in this effort can also be explained by intrinsic motivation (Ryan and Deci, 2000). The inherent satisfaction in Prabhus effort to comprehend appears to be that a learner who achieves success will then put more effort into their studies, thus driving further effort for learnings sake, which will lead to further success in a learners second language acquisition. So it would appear that the more achievements a learner makes in

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the language classroom, the more likely these accomplishments will further future achievement and success.

Conclusion & Implications


In this paper, I have discussed the ideas of (a) Vygotskys ZPD, (b) the notion of scaffolding, and (c) Prabhus idea of effort to comprehend and how these abstract ideas, can assist the teacher in facilitating the students second language acquisition in the classroom. As I presented in section A, various experts in the eld have interpreted the ZPD to suit their needs or, label existing practices, or relate it to other terms (such as scaffolding). However, as I have argued in A.2., I feel that a closer interpretation that approximates Vygotskys (1978:86) original idea is needed in order for language teachers to be able to practically apply the ZPD concept in the classroom. Given the varying interpretations of Vygotskys ZPD concept, I feel the language teacher can be easily confused by them and may struggle with how to understand and apply the ZPD concept in the context of second language acquisition. However, I believe that if teachers strive to approximate their own interpretations closely to that of Vygotskys original construct, a better understanding and use will come from the ZPD. In addition, though Vygotsky put forth the ZPD concept in terms of child development, several writers believe that the ZPD can be applied practically to adult learners in the context of second language learning and acquisition in the classroom. Furthermore, I believe that when put to practical use, Vygotskys ZPD concept can allow language teachers to gauge the students knowledge level (i.e. are they elementary, preintermediate, high or low, etc.), determine what can be taught to the students in relation to their level, and to approximate the difculty of activities to be used in the classroom. This can help teachers understand the students approximate zone of proximal development. I further propose that interaction in the classroom within the rst few (2-3) days creates a frame of the students ZPD for the teacher. Determining a learner's ZPD is an act of negotiated discovery that is realized through dialogic interaction between learner and
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expert (Lantolf and Aljaafreh, 1995:620). From this frame, and in conjunction with feedback from the student, the teacher can determine the following: 1. 2. 3. Whether the student can stay at the current level Whether the student should advance to the next level Whether the student should be placed in a lower level

Having determined the ZPD of the learners, I feel that the teacher can then focus on facilitating the second language acquisition of the learners by deploying various means of scaffolding as a way to support this process when the teachers energy and attention cannot be given to students at the individual level. As I mentioned in section B, pair and group work, as well as making students aware of their errors can assist in facilitating learning and understanding of the L2. Turning to the next point, I discussed the varying views, the denition, and some practical applications of scaffolding in the classroom in section B. The rationale for such examples is as follows. I believe that this is a good practical example of scaffolding, in that the teacher [expert] assists the students by pointing out the errors that they have made. Presented with this opportunity, students can then see within a xed context their errors (ones that are completely relevant to them, as they created them) and have the chance to reect upon, understand, and ultimately correct each others and/or their own mistakes. From my experience, the result is that the teacher has provided scaffolding to facilitate learners understanding, while the learners have also, at times, mutually scaffolded each others learning and understanding. The end result is that this collaborative effort facilitates the support needed for the second language acquisition of the students involved. Yet from my own experience as a teacher, the result of incorrectly determining what a group of students can achieve is a sense of disappointment for all involved, and Prabhus ideas underlying the effort to comprehend, which I discussed in section C, appear to support this. A lack of success demotivates students and does not generally allow the effort to comprehend to foster. However, when the teacher thoughtfully considers the level of the students and carefully grades the classroom activities to that of the students, this helps facilitate the lesson.
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When students struggle with cognitive obstacles during the lesson, the teacher can then provide the scaffolding to assist the learners, whether it be direct intervention or having students assist each other. The students will hopefully progress successfully in learning the second language, and it is this progression that will, I feel, drive them to further their learning and desire more cognitive challenges. In referring to RQ1, I suggest that in considering what (a) a student is capable of learning [the ZPD], and (b) by providing contingent assistance to the student [scaffolding], that these steps will likely lead to student achievement and success, from which (c) the students effort to comprehend springs forth [Prabhus concept]. This effort in turn will facilitate the learners second language acquisition, which will likely lead to a further desire to learn and succeed in the second language learning environment (e.g. the classroom). I must admit that this paper is limited to the readings that I was able to accomplish within a relatively short period of time. Moreover the varying interpretations and views on Vygotskys ZPD and scaffolding presented me with particular problems and forced me to question my own views. The general lack of outside commentary on Prabhus idea also presented a challenge. However, I feel I have been able to answer the question I posed in the introduction. Finally, my goal of writing about these concepts should not be considered a denitive answer to the question that I have presented. However, I feel that the insight I have gained into these areas will help me improve how I view teaching and learning in the classroom, in addition to becoming, perhaps, a better teacher that has a deeper understanding of learners and my own role as teacher in the classroom. Professional development in education, it seems, is an endless one, but with each success achieved, the drive to obtain more success is ever greater. Word count: 5327

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