Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

The Effect of Scaffolding on Efl Learners' Reading Comprehension

Academic journal article Modern Journal of Language Teaching Methods

The Effect of Scaffolding on Efl Learners' Reading Comprehension

Article excerpt

1.Introduction

As students may face problems in comprehending the text, reading skill is regarded as the most vital skill for students in the classroom context and extracurricular environment (Grab & Stoller,2002). Walqui (2006) believed that teachers can help their students master the habit of evoking their prior knowledge on a subject which enhances their reading comprehension.

One approach that teachers use to assist their students is scaffolded reading experience (Graves&Graves,2003). It is a flexible model in that it provides a framework within which to operate and allows the teacher to choose strategies that are best suited for the group of students reading a particular text (Cohen & Cowen,2007).Scaffolding learning has been suggested as a way to help learners achieve what they would not be able to do on their own and then to make sense of and to internalize the experience (Dennen,2003).

Applebee and Langer (1983) believed that learning is a process of gradual internalization of routines and procedures available to the learner from the social and cultural context in which the learning takes place. They have called this kind of learning as an instructional scaffolding.

Wells(1999) believed that scaffolding is a way of operationalizing Vygotskys' concept of working in the zone of proximal development(ZPD). He described two important features that give educational scaffolding its particular character : (1) essentially dialogical nature of discourse in which knowledge is co- constructed, (2) the significance of the kind of activity in which knowing is embedded.

Stone (1993) described a Vygotskian-inspired analysis of scaffolding. He has stated Vygotskys' view that learning first takes place on a social level meaning that it is seen as a fluid, interpersonal process in which both participants are active. Both participants actively build common understanding through communicative exchanges in which the student learn from more knowledgeable students.

Cadzen(1979) suggested that scaffolding can be explained from the domain of parent-child interactions to teacher-student interactions. Similarly, Verenikina (2008) believed that the importance of teacher-student communication in learners' achievement is strongly emphasized in the social - cultural educational theory , originated by Vygotsky.

2.Literature Review

Reading is considered as the core of the skills. Brown(2001) mentions t hat " reading ability will be developed best in the association with writing , listening and speaking activities"(p.298). Teachers try to find ways to improve learners' language learning. One of these ways is to scaffold students in their language achievem ent.

Although the term scaffolding has never been used by Vygotsky (1978),it refers to his work .He has proposed the notion of zone of proximal development (ZPD),which is closely related to scaffolding, in every learner as" the distance between learne rs' existing developmental state and their potential development "(Brown,2007,p.13). Based on Field (2004) there is a relationship between ZPD and scaffolding. An adult assists child by promoting his attention in a task, guiding him towards appropriate goals, marking prominent features of a task and showing related strategies.

Reiser (2004) believed that in scaffolding , students receive support to do certain tasks and move to more complex ones. According to McLoughlin (2002),scaffolding not only needs physical support in addressing students in learning context ,it needs addressing student learning of concepts, procedures, strategies, and metacognitive skills .Scaffolding is a learning process designed to promote a deeper level of understanding. It is the support given during the learning process which is tailored to the needs of the students with the intention of helping the student achieve his/ her learning goals (Sawyer,2006).

Walqui( 2006) has investigated the notion of scaffolding in both pedagogical context and education as follows:

In pedagogical contexts, scaffolding has come to refer to both aspects of the construction site : the supportive structure and the collaborative construction work that is carried out. …

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