The Theoretical Expectation of the Effect of Written Corrective Feedback From Sociocultural Perspective

The Theoretical Expectation of the Effect of Written Corrective Feedback From Sociocultural Perspective

DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-5103-4.ch004


This chapter explains how written CF should be provided within a socio-cultural framework. Sociocultural researchers believe learning occurs “in” instead of “by” the interaction between the learner and the teacher. When the learner needs less “other-regulation” or has better “self-regulation” during the scaffolded interaction, learning occurs. Scaffolding means that facilitation varies according to the learner's need. For the optimal facilitation of learning, scaffolding should be within the learner's ZPD. Therefore, it is fair to assume that scaffolded written CF within the learner's ZPD has the potential to facilitate the desired L2 learning.
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Socio-Cultural Perspective Of Sla And Written Corrective Feedback As Scaffolding Within Zpd

Originally conceived by Russian psychologist L.S. Vygotsky and his colleagues, the central concept of sociocultural theory is that the human mind is mediated and the task of psychology is to understand how human social and mental activity is organized through culturally constructed artifacts such as motivation and perceptions (Vygotsky, 1978). Many sociocultural theorists argue that learning is not something that goes on exclusively in the learner’s head (e.g. cognitivism); it is happening in the world where the learner exists. That is to say, sociocultural theory brings the social and the psychological into contact through the notion of mediation (Lantolf, 1994; Swain, 2000).

In Vygostkian theory, language is the most powerful artifact available for mediating thought. Language is not only a means of accomplishing social interaction, but also a means of managing mental activity and the former serves as the basis for the latter. For language learners, the L2 serves as the object of their attention and the tool for mediating its acquisition (Lantolf, 1994; Swain, 2000). Swain (2000) also claimed that L2 acquisition involves learning how to use language to mediate language learning. Lantolf (2000) further suggested that mediation in second language learning can involve others through social interaction or the learner by himself/herself through private speech. That is, mediation can be external when a learner gets some assistance in the performance of some function, and it can be internal when a learner uses his/her own resources to achieve control over a function.

Lantolf (2000) emphasized that the essence of sociocultural theory of mind is that internal mediation is achieved by means of external mediation. Thus, development is ‘about the appropriation by individuals (and groups) of the meditational means made available by others (past or present) in their environment in order to improve control over their own mental activity’ (Lantolf, 2000). Extrapolating it to L2 acquisition specifically, the results of acquisition do not have to be manifested in output; and that the L2 learner has better self-mediation or needs less other-mediation also indicates development. This section will introduce some very important notions in sociocultural theory and the role of written CF will be explained in detail.

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