Zia Tajeddin; Farhad Tayebipour
One of the theories accounting for pragmatic development of L2 learners is Vygotsky’s (1978) sociocultural theory. This study investigated the ...
One of the theories accounting for pragmatic development of L2 learners is Vygotsky’s (1978) sociocultural theory. This study investigated the development of EFL learners' pragmatic competence through the lens of an important concept of Vygotsky’s theory, i.e. the zone of proximal development. The study was conducted to answer two questions. The first question was whether the amount of scaffolding provided to EFL learners would have any relationship with their proficiency level. The second question was focused on the investigation of the relationship between learners’ individual ZPDs and the group ZPD. To this end, 20 EFL learners at low vs. high proficiency levels were selected and assigned randomly into two groups. Both groups received ZPD-sensitive instruction to produce the two speech acts of request and apology. The findings indicated no significant relationship between the proficiency level of the participants and the amount of scaffolding given for the production of the two speech acts. However, the findings revealed certain relationship between participants' individual ZPDs and their group ZPD. This study suggests that EFL learners' general language proficiency has little impact on the development of their pragmatic competence. Besides, based on the findings, scaffolding seems to have learner-specific effects, meaning that each learner may need a specific amount of scaffolding for his/her ZPD to grow despite being in the same group ZPD.