Volume 7-1 February 2011.
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The Nature of Interactive and Intervening Strategies in Scaffolding EFL Reading Skill
Mehdi B. Mehrani (Ph.D. candidate)
Tarbiat Modares University, Tehran, Iran.
Ghasem Modarresi (Ph.D. candidate)
Islamic Azad University, Quchan Branch, Iran.
Mehdi B. Mehrani is a Ph.D. student in ELT Department at Tarbiat Modares University. His research activities include two main lines of research: the interface between research and practice in applied linguistics; and human’s communication norms, particularly children’s interrogative suggestibility.
Ghasem Modarresi is faculty member of English Department at Quchan Islamic Azad University. He is a Ph.D. student in TEFL at Science & Research University. He has already published three articles, and participated in different conferences and workshops nationally and internationally. His research interests are critical pedagogy, psycholinguistics, and translation studies.
This exploratory study reports the findings from a case study research of a proficient EFL reading instructor in order to provide a rich account of the process of effective scaffolding in a one-to-one tutoring context. The teacher worked for 10 sessions with a second language learner at intermediate level who had extreme difficulties in reading English texts. Data were collected through recording all teaching sessions, classroom observation, and document analysis. The analysis of the data was carried out with a particular focus on the nature of interactions between the instructor and the student. Furthermore, the kinds and the levels of intervening strategies employed by the teacher were charted. The results showed that the teacher offered various types of assistances depending on the difficulties of tasks and the students’ Zone of Proximal Development. Additionally, the findings highlighted the importance of students’ errors in providing opportunities for teachers to decide where intervention is necessary. The results suggest that the effective scaffolding, inter alia, includes making sound decisions both prior to and during the process of teaching. This complexity of the teacher’s role in the multilevel instructional decision making and scaffolding performance is discussed in detail.
Keywords: Reading, Scaffolding, Second language teaching, Tutoring.