il, but they should not allow students to become too dependent on the teacher. In fact, some students will need more teacher support while learning to perform a task; others will demonstrate task mastery more quickly. Like the mother bird that helps her chicks leave the nest to become independent birds, teachers need to help their students gradually move from teacher assistance to student independence as students demonstrate command of the task or activity.
2.19. Types of Instructional Scaffolding to Use with English Learners
Walqui (2006) proposes six main types of instructional scaffolding:
Students need to be given clear examples of what is requested of them for imitation. When introducing a new task or working format, it is indispensable that the learners be able to see or hear what a developing product looks like. From that point of view, walking students through an interaction or first doing it together as a class activity is a necessary step.
Students will only be able to learn new concepts and language if these are firmly built on previous knowledge and understandings. A common bridging approach is to activate students’ prior knowledge. Anticipatory guides are a way to do this so that students produce written as well as spoken language. At the beginning of a new topic the teacher may ask her class to collaborate to fill out a two-column anticipatory guide, with one column for what students know about a topic and the other for questions about the topic that they are interested in answering.
One of the greatest problems English learners face in content area classes is reading the textbooks. Not only is the language academic, but it is usually very dry and dense, with few or no relevant illustrations, and presented in a linear rather than cyclical way. Embedding this language in a sensory context by using manipulatives, pictures, a few minutes of a film and other types of realia can make language accessible and engaging for students.
4) Schema building
Schema, or clusters of meaning that are interconnected, are how we organize knowledge and understanding. If building understanding is a matter of weaving new information into pre-existing structures of meaning, then it becomes indispensable for teachers to help English language learners see these connections through a variety of activities.
5) Re-presenting text
One way in which teachers invite students to begin the appropriation of new language is by engaging them in activities that require the transformation of linguistic constructions they found modeled in one genre into forms used in another genre. Teachers can do this by asking students to say what is happening (as in drama or dialogue), then what has happened (narratives, reports), then what happens (generalizations in exposition) and, finally, what may happen (tautologic transformations, theorizing). In this fashion, students can access content presented in more difficult genres by the act of transforming it into different genres, especially those that are more easily produced.
6) Developing metacognition
Metacognition refers to the ways in which students manage their thinking, and it includes at least the following aspects:
* Consciously applying learned strategies while engaging in activity;
* Knowledge and awareness of strategic options a learner has and the ability to choose the most effective one for the particular activity at hand;
* Monitoring, evaluating and adjusting performance during activity; and
* Planning for future performance based on evaluation of past performance.
As with other kinds of interactions in the class, metacognitive strategies need to be modeled and practiced as a whole class before students attempt them in pairs or small groups. As students begin their independent use of the strategies, the teacher continues to carefully monitor the implementation.
2.20. Challenges and Benefits of Scaffolding
As with any other learning theory or strategy, there are challenges and benefits to scaffolding. Lipscomb, Swanson, and West (2004) list challenges and benefits of scaffolding as following:
Very time consuming
Lack of sufficient personnel
Potential for misjudging the zone of proximal development; success relies on identifying the area that is just beyond but not too far beyond students’ abilities.
Inadequately modeling the desired behaviors, strategies or activities because the teacher has not fully considered the individual student’s needs, predilections, interests, and abilities.
Full benefits not seen unless the instructors are properly trained.
Requires the teacher to give up control as fading occurs.
Provides individualized instruction.
Provides differentiated instruction.
Creates momentum; through the structure provided by scaffolding, students spend less time searching and more time on learning and discovering resulting in quicker learning.
Engages the learner.
Motivates the learner to learn.
Minimizes the level of frustration for the learner.
Ellis, Worthington and Larkin (2004) believe that the major benefit of scaffolding is that it supports the following principles of effective teaching:
Students learn more when they are engaged actively during an instructional task.
Students achieve more in classes in which they spend much of their time being directly taught or supervised by their teacher.
Students can become independent, self-regulated learners through instruction that is deliberately and carefully scaffolded.
The critical forms of knowledge associated with strategic learning are (a) declarative knowledge, (b) procedural knowledge, and (c) conditional knowledge.Each of these must be addressed if students are to become independent, self-regulated learners.
Learning is increased when teaching is presented in a manner that assists students in organizing, storing, and retrieving knowledge.
Students can become independent, self-regulated learners through instruction that is explicit.
By teaching sameness both within and across subjects, teachers promote the ability of students to access potentially relevant knowledge in novel problem-solving situations.
Each one of these principles can be supported with the use of scaffolding.
Wilson (2009) mentions that the disadvantage to this teaching style is the speed at which the student learns is not addressed. Effectively there are some students who will have a higher level of difficulty learning and performing a particular task than others. Those students who master their tasks while the others resist may find themselves discouraged.
Another disadvantage of scaffolding is mentioned by Maybin, et.,al (1992) According to them, teachers have recognized that the scaffolding concept remains at an abstract level and is not easily translated into a practical classroom context. The reason is that the concept was originally developed by researchers investigating the linguistic and cognitive development of very young children, usually observed in one-to-one conversations with a parent or adult caregiver.
In other words, teacher-pupil relationships, and the discourse within them, are unlikely to be characterized by the same degree of emotional intimacy as parent-child relationships. One-to-one interactions in classroom tend to be more truncated than interactions between parent and their children. Moreover, discourse between a teacher and a pupil is usually contextualized by other discourse and will inevitably be influenced by the institutional norms of schools and the peculiar power relations within classrooms.
The participants of this study were EFL intermediate stude
nts who were studying at Jihad Daneshgahi short-time educations in Mashhad. They were female with the average age range of 15-17. First it should be mentioned that Preliminary
English Test (PET) was piloted on 30 participants with the same characteristics as the participants in the target sample. After that, 95students in four intact classes taking an intermediate- level course at the institute took the piloted PET language proficiency test for the researcher to make sure that they were the same with regard to their general language proficiency in general and reading comprehension in particular. Two of the classes were assigned as the control group (47 students) and the other two classes were assigned as the experimental group (48). The classes were intact, as the researcher could not displace the students, and there was no opportunity for the researcher to select the sample randomly from the population of intermediate EFL learners; however, the assignment of the groups was done randomly.
In order to fulfill the purpose of the study, the researcher applied certain instruments to measure the participants’ abilities in terms of language proficiency and reading ability.
3.2.1. Language proficiency test
To homogenize the participants, PET (Preliminary English Test, by Jenny Quintana (2010) was used in this study. According to the official websites of Cambridge ESOL, PET is an exam for people who can use every day written and spoken English at an intermediate level. It covers all four language skills: reading, writing, listening and speaking , while due to the practicality and time limitations only the reading and writing sections were administered in this study. The first step was to pilot the reading and writing sections of Preliminary English Test (PET) with 30 participants with the same characteristics of the target sample by which the researcher could clarify the problematic items if any.
Then the reliability was0.87 and an item analysis was carried out, the item facility of items was between 0.39-0.60 as well as the item discrimination of them was between 0.40-0.55 as the result of which no items were deleted. The inter-rater reliability of the writing section was calculated (0.9867) as well. To do so, the writing section was rated by the researcher and another trained instructor and after making sure of the internal consistency between the two raters, the obtained score of each participant was considered as the average scores given by the two raters. This section consists of 7 questions in which questions 1-5 carry one mark. Question 6 of part 2, carries five marks and question 7 or 8 of part 3, carries fifteen marks. Part 1: five sentence transformation items that were theme-related. Candidates were given sentences and then asked to complete similar sentences using a different structural pattern so that the sentences still had the same meaning. Candidates should use no more than three words.
Part2: one short communicative message in which candidates were prompted to write a short message in the form of a postcard, note, email, etc. the prompt took the form of a rubric or short in put text to respond to.
Part3: one long piece of continuous writing in which candidates were presented with a choice of two questions, an informal letter or a story. Candidates were primarily assessed on their ability to use and control a range of threshold level language. Coherence, organization, spelling and punctuation were also assessed. The reading section of PET includes 35 questions, which carry one mark each, and comprises 25% of the total mark for the whole examination and consists of four different parts:
Part 1: two three-option multiple-choice very short discrete texts: signs andmessages, post cards, notes, labels etc.
Part 2: five matching items in the form of descriptions of people to match to
eight short adapted-authentic texts.
Part 3: ten true/false items with an adapted authentic long text.
Part 4: five four-option multiple choice items with an adapted authentic long text.