Second Language Acquisition Processes in the Classroom: Learning Japanese

By Amy Snyder Ohta | Go to book overview

Chapter 3—
Peer Interactive Tasks and Assisted Performance in Classroom Language Learning

In chapter 2, we considered the role of private speech in the development of the seven learners. In this chapter, we move “outward” from private speech, an intrapsychological speech form, to interpsychological speech—social interaction as it occurs in the context of peer interactive tasks. It is through social interaction that the ZPD is formed. In particular, we consider how peer interactive tasks promote the provision of help from learner to learner that results in assisted performance (Tharp & Gallimore, 1991), which forms building blocks for language development.


The Theoretical Basis of Peer Learning:
From the Social to the Individual

In chapter 1, a sociocognitive framework for understanding classroom language development was presented. In this framework, two key constructs that illuminate developmental processes were presented, the ZPD and the general genetic law of cultural development. The general genetic law of development outlines how assistance in the ZPD leads to learning and how social interaction forms the basis of the development of thought (Vygotsky, 1981). Through the enabling process that occurs in the ZPD, and continued use of what the learner is working to acquire, internalization occurs as the learner becomes less dependent on assistance, and more able to individually control language as a tool of thought. In other words, the learner moves from other regulation—from being dependent on the guidance of others, to self-regulation, in which the learner is able to control

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