Operationalizing educational scaffolding in a Japanese high school English classroom: A theoretical approach

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This paper presents a notional approach to operationalizing a sociocultural theory of language learning, the Zone of Proximal Development, to support second and foreign language learning by using appropriate educational scaffolding in a practical teaching
context. The aim is to provide an example of how to promote greater communicative language use in high school English classrooms in Japan. First, the paper gives a survey of the theoretical underpinnings of relevant sociocultural approaches to language learning. The paper then attempts to link theory and practice. A sample teaching-plan is included, based on a lesson given as part of a team-taught debate course, which is currently offered at a public high school in Japan. The paper offers examples and analysis of how the plan exemplifies the principles of educational scaffolding and the Zone of Proximal Development. Finally, potential issues relating to the practical application of such approaches are raised. Furthermore, particular issues arising in a Japanese educational context are considered. Strategies to pre-empt and overcome such difficulties are then discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)95-107
JournalOsaka JALT Journal
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2017


  • Sociolinguistics
  • Operationalizing scaffolding
  • ZPD
  • High school
  • English communication
  • Debate
  • Lesson planning


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