Realizing the ZPD in Second Language Education

The Complementary Contributions of Dynamic Assessment and Mediated Development

Authors

  • Paolo Infante Minnesota State University
  • Matthew E. Poehner The Pennsylvania State University

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/lst.38916

Keywords:

L2 Writing, Sociocultural Theory, Dynamic Assessment, Mediated Development, Systemic Theoretical Instruction, Zone of Proximal Development

Abstract

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.

Author Biographies

Paolo Infante, Minnesota State University

Paolo Infante is Assistant Professor of TESOL at Minnesota State University, Mankato. His research employs Vygotskian theory to understand and promote processes of second language development within different language learning contexts. He teaches undergraduate and graduate TESOL courses for inservice and preservice educators seeking K-12 licensure.

Matthew E. Poehner, The Pennsylvania State University

Matthew E. Poehner is Associate Professor of World Languages Education and Applied Linguistics at the Pennsylvania State University. His research concerns Sociocultural Theory as a framework for understanding instructed second language development and as a basis for educational practices such as Dynamic Assessment, Concept-based Language Instruction, and Mediated Development.

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Published

2019-09-04

How to Cite

Infante, P., & Poehner, M. (2019). Realizing the ZPD in Second Language Education: The Complementary Contributions of Dynamic Assessment and Mediated Development. Language and Sociocultural Theory, 6(1), 63-91. https://doi.org/10.1558/lst.38916

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Articles