Language and Sociocultural Theory, Vol 6, No 1 (2019)

Realizing the ZPD in Second Language Education: The Complementary Contributions of Dynamic Assessment and Mediated Development

Paolo Infante, Matthew E. Poehner
Issued Date: 4 Sep 2019


Vygotsky’s (1978, 1987) notion of the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) brings into focus the dialectical nature of interactional processes that provoke second language (L2) learner development. Two areas of L2 sociocultural theory (SCT-L2) scholarship that draw upon the ZPD as a framework for organizing instructional interactions are Dynamic Assessment (DA), wherein mediator-learner interaction functions to diagnose learner maturing abilities (Poehner, 2008), and Mediated Development (MD), an interactional framework that fosters learner capacity to understand and employ L2 concepts within communicative activities (Poehner and Infante, 2017). We argue that DA foregrounds assessing learner emerging abilities without losing sight of their development through instruction, while MD shows how appropriate instruction has to include assessing the learner. This paper extends the argument that ZPD activity represents the dialectical relation between teaching and assessing through analysis of transcribed classroom interaction that supports the perspective that DA and MD can function together as part of a coherent L2 SCT pedagogy.

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DOI: 10.1558/lst.38916


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