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Scaffolding understanding at a conceptual level in an L2 academic context: A SCT approach

Antoniou, Vasiliki-Celia (2016) Scaffolding understanding at a conceptual level in an L2 academic context: A SCT approach. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

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Abstract

Within the socio-cultural school of thought, Galperin, was influenced by Vygotsky’s theory of mind. Following Vygotsky’s argument about the leading role of instruction within the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD), Galperin developed an instructional approach, known as Systemic Theoretical Instruction (STI), which encourages the active construction of materialized concepts and their monitored transformation into mental processes in order to foster development. Following from this, the present thesis aimed at investigating a) how knowledge at a conceptual level can be fostered and supported online, b) the affordances of an online (Moodle-based) Pedagogic Unit to potentially foster L2 English online academic training with specific reference to Applied Linguistics terminology (although the findings could be applicable to other disciplines as well) c) the effectiveness of the online scaffolding mechanisms that were developed for each online task and d) the students’ views with regards to all the previous. To this end, this study adopted an exploratory qualitative approach and collected various types of data to support conceptual development among 13 UK based L2 learners who were pursuing postgraduate studies. Importantly, while existing STI investigations have employed mainly qualitative data, the analysis conducted for this study included both quantitative and qualitative methods such as introspection techniques, recorded interviews, pre-post interview tasks, concept-mapping, online Moodle tasks and questionnaires, screen-captures and audio recordings of the online activities. The findings revealed that the Moodle unit was a suitable environment in fostering the students’ conceptual development and that specific scaffolding features and types of tasks have contributed towards this. Furthermore, this study contributes to the growing body of research into the potential role of scaffolding to enhance ZPDs in online environments in order to facilitate the L2 learners’ English for Academic Purposes training. It also sheds light into the affordances of STI and online environments to develop the students’ academic speaking and reading skills which, ultimately, contribute to overall conceptual development. Finally, it highlights the potential role of verbalisation (through introspection tasks, use of concept maps and oral presentations) as a means of both fostering and assessing conceptual development.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: sociocultural theory, Vygotsky, Systemic theoretical instruction, concept based instruction, TBLT
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
P Language and Literature > PE English
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Language and Linguistics, Department of
Depositing User: Vasiliki Antoniou
Date Deposited: 31 Jan 2017 10:18
Last Modified: 31 Jan 2017 10:18
URI: http://repository.essex.ac.uk/id/eprint/18779

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