Evaluating the Effectiveness of Scaffolding in One-on-one Sessions of a Study-Abroad Program
Abstract: For students in an immersion study abroad program, the curricu-lar setting is the target cultural environment: It is desirable to take advan-tage of the environment by implementing a language partner program and one-on-one sessions. This paper investigates the value of the one-on-one sessions in the language partner component and in the conventional cur-riculum of a U.S.-based study-abroad program in China. A case study with two “successful language learners” illuminates the interaction and discourse between the learners and teachers in one-on-one sessions and the learners’ meetings with their language partners. The author interpreted video-tapes of those meetings within the framework of Vygotsky’s theory of zone of proximal development (ZPD) to examine the effectiveness of different in-structional strategies and the characteristics of interaction between the learners and teachers or peers. The accuracy of the observations and analy-sis of the discourse from video-tapes were validated by a questionnaire and by interviewing both learners upon their return from the SA program. Pro-ficiency tests were used to gauge the learners’ progress.