Scaffolding and Pairwork: A Sociocultural Analysis

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Allan Nicholas, Kanda University of International Studies


This paper examines the peer-to-peer talk of six Japanese learners of English in a higher education setting using sociocultural concepts for analysis. The aim of the study was to see if the findings of a number of sociocultural studies concerning student-student scaffolding were relevant to the Japanese classroom setting, and thus gain a deeper understanding of interactions between Japanese learners. In particular, evidence of peer-peer assistance was looked for, and whether that assistance was effective. The participants’ talk was recorded, transcribed, and analysed for evidence of scaffolding. It was found that the study participants regularly provided assistance to each other in a variety of ways, and that there was considerable evidence of this assistance being effective.