Application of a SCOBA in Educational Praxis of L2 Written Argumentative Discourse


  • Ali Hadidi York University



Argument, discourse, Toulmin model, scientific concepts, concept based language instruction, SCOBA, L2 writing, cognitive process theory, mental action


The purpose of this study was to examine if and the way in which a central argumentative discourse schema, as a cognitive tool, was appropriated by an English language learner. There has been little research on the development of L2 written argumentative discourse after a period of instruction and no study, to my knowledge, examining and detailing a systematic pedagogy for L2 learners. Grounded in both C-BLI (concept-based language instruction) and cognitive-process theory of writing (Bereiter and Scardamlaia, 1987), the present study details the appropriation of a central Toulmin (1958/2003) SCOBA, ‘schema for complete orientating basis of an action,’ (Gal’perin, 1989: 70) to mediate the cognitive processes leading to the production of texts that feature argumentative discourse features. The central Toulmin SCOBA and the text generation artifacts that were (co-) constructed during C-BLI will be examined and evidence will be provided for the effectiveness of the SCOBA. There will be a theoretical and empirical discussion of how the SCOBA and its related artifacts made the-rule-of thumb (Negueruela, 2003) and amorphous idea (Vygotsky, 1986) of thesis-support scientific and discrete. In order to guide the teaching-learning of written argumentative discourse, the cognitive processes of writing were conceptualized as mental actions (Gal’perin, 1989). The findings indicate that the learner’s cognitive processes of composing and the quality of his texts improved during and after instruction.

Author Biography

Ali Hadidi, York University

Dr. Ali Hadidi is a Course Director at the Department of Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics at York University, where he teaches humanities and social science to first-year English language learners. His research interests include the application of cognitive psychology and sociocultural theory of mind to L2 educational praxis, and in particular, to L2 writing. 


Aljaafreh, A. and Lantolf, J. P. (1994). Negative feedback as regulation and second language learning in the zone of proximal development. The Modern Language Journal 78(4): 465–483.

Arievitch, I. M. and Haenen, J. P. P. (2005). Connecting sociocultural theory and educational practice: Gal’perin’s approach. Educational Psychologist 40(3): 155–165.

Bereiter, C. and Scardamalia M. (1987). The Psychology of Written Composition. Hillsdale, NJ: Laurence Erlbaum Associates.

Chenoweth, N. A. and Hayes, J. R. (2003). The inner voice in writing. Written Communication 20(1): 99–118.

Elbow, P. (1973). Writing without Teachers. New York: Oxford University Press.

Elbow, P. (1989). Toward a phenomenology of freewriting. Journal of Basic Writing 8(2): 42–71.

Elbow, P. (2010). 7. Freewriting: An obvious and easy way to speak onto the page. Retrieved from:

Elbow, P. (2012). Vernacular Eloquence: What Speech can bring to Writing. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Englert, C. S., Raphael, T. E, Anderson, L. M., Anthony, H. M., and Stevens, D. D. (1991). Making strategies and self-talk visible: Writing instruction in regular and special education classrooms. American Educational Research Journal 28(2): 337–372.

Ferreira, M. and Lantolf, J. P. (2008). A concept-based approach to teaching writing through genre analysis. In J. P. Lantolf and M. Poehner (Eds), Sociocultural Theory and the Teaching of Second Languages, 285–320. London: Equinox Pub.

Flower, L. and Hayes, J. R. (1977). Problem solving strategies and writing process. College English 4: 449–461.

Flower, L. and Hayes, J. R. (1980). The dynamics of composing: Making plans and juggling constraints. In W. Gregg and E. R. Steinberg (Eds), Cognitive Processes in Writing, 31–50. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

Gal’perin, P. Ya. (1967). On the notion of internalization. Soviet Psychology 5(3): 28–33.

Gal’perin, P. Ya. (1979). The role of orientation in thought. Soviet Psychology 18(2): 19–45.

Gal’perin, P. Ya. (1989) Organization of mental activity and the effectiveness of learning, Soviet Psychology 27(3): 65–82.

García, P. (2012). Verbalizing in the second language classroom: The development of the grammatical concept of aspect. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA.

García, P. N. (2018). Concept-based instruction: Investigating the role of conscious conceptual manipulation in L2 Development. In J. P. Lantolf, M. E. Poehner, and M. Swain (Eds), The Routledge Handbook of Sociocultural Theory and Second Language Development, 181–197. New York: Routledge.

Grabe, W. and Kaplan, R. B. (1996). Theory and Practice of Writing: An Applied Linguistic Perspective. New York: Longman.

Hadidi, A. (2017). Cognition and Rhetoric in English Language Learners’ Writing: A Developmental Study (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Toronto, Ontario: York University.

Handsfield, L. J., & Jiménez, R. T. (2009). Cognition and Misrecognition: A Bourdieuian Analysis of Cognitive Strategy Instruction in a Linguistically and Culturally Diverse Classroom. Journal of Literacy Research, 41(2), 151–195.

Harris, K. R. and Pressley, M. (1991). The nature of cognitive strategy instruction: Interactive strategy construction. Exceptional Children 57(5): 392–404.

Hayes, J. R. (2012). Modelling and remodeling writing. Written Communication 29(3): 369–388.

Hayes, J. R. and Flower, L. (1980). Identifying the organization of writing processes. In W. Gregg and E. R. Steinberg (Eds), Cognitive Processes in Writing, 3–30. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

Hillocks, G. (2010). Teaching argument for critical thinking and writing: An introduction. The English Journal 99(6): 24–32.

Kellogg, R. T. (1999). Components of working memory in text production. In M. Torrance and G. Jeffery (Eds), The Cognitive Demands of Writing: Processing Capacity and Working Memory in Text Production, 43–61. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.

Lantolf, J. P. (2002). Sociocultural theory and second language acquisition. In R. A., Kaplan. (Ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Applied Linguistics, 104–114. New York: Oxford University Press.

Lantolf, J. P. (2008). Praxis and classroom L2 development. Estudios de linguistica inglesa aplicada (ELIA) 8: 13–44.

Lantolf, J. P. and Poehner, M. E. (2014). Sociocultural Theory and the Pedagogical Imperative in L2 Education: Vygotskian Praxis and the Research/Practice Divide. New York: Routledge.

Lantolf, J. P. and Thorne, S. L. (2006). Sociocultural Theory and the Genesis of L2 Development. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Lantolf, J. P. and Zhang, X. (2017). Concept-based language instruction. In S. Loenwen and M. Sato (Eds), The Routledge Handbook of Instructed Second Language Acquisition, 146–164. New York, Routledge.

Li, L. Y. (2007). Exploring the use of focused freewriting in developing academic writing, Journal of University Teaching & Learning Practice 4(1). Retrieved from:

Munday, R. and Cartwright, C. (1990). Effects of the use of focused freewriting activities on secondary preservice teachers’ critical thinking abilities. Journal of instructional psychology 17(4): 237–241.

Newell, A. (1980). Reasoning, problem solving, and decision processes: The problem space

as a fundamental category. In R. S. Nickerson (Ed.), Attention and Performance Vol. VIII. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.

Pressley, M., McGoldrick, J. A., Cariglia-Bull, T. and Symons, S. (1995). Writing. In M. Pressley and V. Woloshyn (Eds), Cognitive Strategy Instruction that Really Improves Children’s Academic Performance, 153–182. Cambridge, MA: Brookline Books.

Scardamalia, M. and Bereiter, C. (1985). Development of dialectical processes in composition. In D. R. Olson, N. Torrance and A. Hildyard (Eds), Literacy, Language, and Learning: The Nature and Consequences of Reading and Writing, 307–332. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Scardamalia, M., Bereiter, C. and Steinbach, R. (1984). Teachability of reflective processes in written composition. Cognitive science 8(2): 173–190.

Toulmin, S. E. (1958/2003). The Uses of Arguments. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Toulmin, S. E., Rieke, R. D., and Janik, A. (1984). An Introduction to Reasoning. New York: Macmillan.

van Compernolle, R. A. (2011). Developing second language sociopragmatic knowledge through concept-based instruction: A microgenetic case study. Journal of Pragmatics, 43: 3267–3283.

van Dijk, T. A. and Kintsch, W. (1983). Strategies of Discourse Comprehension. New York: Academic Press.

van Wijk, C. (1999). Conceptual processes in argumentation: A developmental per- spective. In M. Torrance and D. Galbraith (Eds), Knowing what to Write: Conceptual Processes in Text Production, 31–47. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press.

van Wijk, C. H. and Sanders, T. J. M. (1999). Identifying writing strategies through text analysis. Written Communication 16(1): 52–76.

Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in Society: The Development of Higher Psychological Processes. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

Vygotsky, L. S. (1986). Thought and Language. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

Wertsch, J. V. (2007). Mediation. In H. Daniels, H., M. Cole and J. V. Wertsch (Eds), The Cambridge Companion to Vygotsky, 178–192. Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press.

Williams, L., Abraham, L. B. and Negueruela-Azarola, E. (2013). Using concept-based instruction in the L2 classroom: Perspectives from current and future language teachers. Language Teaching Research 17(3): 363–381.

Yeh, S. S. (1998). Empowering education: Teaching argumentative writing to cultural minority middle-school students. Research in the Teaching of English 33(1): 49–83.

Zinchenko, V. P. (2007). Thought and word: The approaches of L. S. Vygotsky and G. G. Shpet. In H. Daniels, H., M. Cole and J. V. Wertsch (Eds), The Cambridge Companion 5. Cambridge, New York: Cambridge University Press.



How to Cite

Hadidi, A. . (2021). Application of a SCOBA in Educational Praxis of L2 Written Argumentative Discourse. Language and Sociocultural Theory, 8(1), 68–96.