Of metaphors and literalization: Reconceptualizing scaffolding in Language Teaching.

Gabriel H Diaz Maggioli


The metaphor of scaffolding is ubiquitous in the field of education and that of Language Teaching in particular. However, the term has become literalized thus losing its original meaning and is now an umbrella term encompassing various forms of teacher intervention. Added to this, the methaphor has come under extended criticism as a consequence of the spread of Sociocultural Learning Theory. This paper explores the metaphor of scaffolding and attempts to validate it as a legitimate form of mediation within the sociocultural construct of Zone of Proximal Development by promoting a reconceptualization of the term in light of alternative definitions. Implications for language teaching and language teacher education are highlighted and new perspectives advanced.


Scaffolding; Zone of Proximal Development; Sociocultural Learning Theory; Teaching; Learning.

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