The Effectiveness of Scaffolding as a Teaching Strategy in Enhancing English Language Learners’ Motivation in Writing: A Case Study


  • Miramar Damanhouri University of Jeddah



In light of Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory, which entails scaffolding instruction as a teaching strategy and employs a task-based approach as a method, this study tests the effectiveness of scaffolding instruction in enhancing writing motivation for 25 English-language learners. The participants in this study were of the same age and similar educational backgrounds. The learners were given a questionnaire to determine their main struggles in writing, then assigned three tasks based on directed writing, to be completed in pairs under the instructor’s supervision and guidance, and finally asked to reflect on their experiences. Most of the participants found asymmetrical and symmetrical scaffolding strategies supportive toward accomplishing the assigned tasks. Nearly all of them reported a positive attitude towards the scaffolded tasks with a focus on meaning, which increased their active engagement and motivation. The results also reveal the importance of the collaborative formative assessment in maximizing learning opportunities


Abraham, A. P. (2015). Teaching and learning to write: Using a task-based approach in an EFL class, in Al-Mahrooqi, R., Thakur, V. and Roscue, A. (EDS.), Methodologies for effective writing instruction in EFL and ESL classrooms. Hershey PA, USA: Information Science Reference, pp. 115-130.

Aljaafreh, A., & Lantolf, J. (1994). Negative feedback as regulation and second language learning in the zone of proximal development. The Modern Language Journal, 78, 465-83.

Balegahizadeh, S., Timcheh Memar, A., & Timcheh Memar, H. (2011). A sociocultural perspective on second language acquisition: The effect of high-structured scaffolding versus low-structured scaffolding on the writing ability of EFL learners. Reflection on English language Teaching, 10 (1), 43-54.

Bransford, J., Brown, A., & Cocking, R. (2000). How people learn: brain, mind, and experience & school. Washington, DC: National Academy Press.

Cameron, L. (2001). Teaching languages to young learners. New York: Cambridge University Press.

Chang, K. E., Sung, Y. T., & Chen, I. D. (2002). The effect of concept mapping to enhance text comprehension and summarization. The Journal of Experimental Education, 71(1), 5-23.

De Guerrero, M., & Villamil, O. S. (2000). Activating the ZPD: Mutual scaffolding in l2 peer revision. The Modern Language Journal, 84(1), 51-68.

Ellis, R. (2003). Task-based language learning and teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Ellis, R., Basturkmen, H., & Loewen, S. (2001). Learner uptake in communicative ESL lessons. Language Learning, 51, 281-318.

Hartman, H. (2002). Human learning and instruction. New York: City College of City University of New York.

Hatch, E. (1978). Second language acquisition. Rowley, MA: Newbury House.

Kumar, R., Rosé, C.P., Wang, Y.C., Joshi, M., & Robinson, A. (2007). Tutorial dialogue as adaptive collaborative learning support, in Luckin, R., Koedinger, K.R., Greer, J. (EDS.), Proceedings of Artificial Intelligence in Education. IOS Press, Amsterdam, pp. 383–390.

Kumaravadivelu, B. (1993). The name of the task and the task of naming: Methodological aspects of task-based pedagogy. Bristol: Longdunn Press.

Lightbown, P. M., & Spada, N. (2013). How languages are learned. Oxford: Oxford university press.

Long, M. H., Inagaki, S., & Ortega, L. (1998). The role of implicit negative feedback in SLA: Models and recasts in Japanese and Spanish. The Modern Language Journal, 82(3), 357-371.

Mackey, A., & Philp, J. (1998). Conversational interaction and second language development: Recasts, responses, and red herrings? The Modern Language Journal, 82(3), 338-356.

McCloskey, M. (2002). Seven instructional principles for teaching young learners of English. TESOL Symposium. San Diago: Georgia State University.

McKenzie, J. (2000). Scaffolding for Success. [online] Beyond Technology, Questioning, Research and the Information Literate School Community. Available at:

Nunan, D. (1989). Designing tasks for the communicative classroom. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Nunan, D. (2004). Task-based language teaching. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Nunn, B. (2001). Task-based methodology and sociocultural theory. [Online]. The Language Teacher. Available at:

Olson, J. & Platt, J. (2000). The instructional cycle, in Olson, J., Platt, J., Dieker, L. (EDS.), Teaching children and adolescents with special Needs. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc, pp. 170-197.

Philips, S. (2001). Young learners. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Raymond, E. (2000). Cognitive characteristics: Learners with mild disabilities. Needham Heights: Allyn& Bacon Com.

Schwieter, J. (2010). Developing second language writing through scaffolding in the ZPD. Journal of College Teaching and Learning, 7 (10), 31-45.

Skehan, P. (1996). Second language acquisition research and task-based instruction, in Willis, J., Willis, D. (EDS.), Challenge and change in language teaching. Oxford: Heinemann, pp.17-30.

Skehan, P. (1998). A cognitive approach to language learning. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Swain, M. (2000). The output hypothesis and beyond: mediating acquisition through collaborative dialogue, in Lantolf, J. P. (ED.), Sociocultural theory and second language learning. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 97-114.

Tharp, R. & Gallimore, R. (1988). Rousing minds to life: teaching, learning and schooling in social context. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Van Lier, L. (2000). From Input to Affordance: Social interactive learning from an ecological perspective, in Lantolf, J. P. (ED.), Sociocultural theory and second language learning: recent advances. Oxford: OUP, pp. 245-259.

VanPatten, B. (1990). Attending to form and content in the input: An experiment in consciousness. Studies in Second Language Acquisition, 12(3), 287-301.

Vygotsky, L. S., & Cole, M. (1978). Mind in society: development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

WELLS, G. (1999). Dialogic inquiry: Towards a sociocultural practice and theory of education. Cambridge, UK, Cambridge University Press.

Willis, D. & Willis, J. (2007). Doing task-based teaching. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Willis, J. (1996). A framework for task-based learning. Harlow: Longman.