Employing dynamic assessment to enhance agency among l2 learners

Tziona Levi, Matthew E. Poehner

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

4 Scopus citations


This chapter attempts to contribute an expanded view of how learner abilities may be understood and promoted through zone of proximal development (ZPD) activity by bringing attention to learner agency as a legitimate focus of mediation. As we explain, we conceive of agency in the context of L2 education to entail not only intentional use of the target language for meaning-making but also the more general metacognitive processes involved in assuming responsibility for one’s learning, including setting goals for language study and monitoring and assessing one’s progress and emerging needs. To date, L2 ZPD research has examined how engagement in co-regulated activity can reveal and promote processes of learner L2 development (Lantolf & Poehner, 2014). L2 development has generally been described in terms of metalinguistic knowledge and control over specific features of language during communicative tasks (Aljaafreh & Lantolf, 1994; Poehner, 2007). In our view, this emphasis does not imply that metacognitive processes relevant to successful school learning in general are not of interest to L2 sociocultural theory (SCT) researchers. Rather, it reflects the reality that this work has been conducted in contexts concerned with L2 teaching and learning, and so language and language use have understandably been the primary focus of mediation. Nonetheless, designing ZPD activity from the outset with an aim of promoting learner awareness of their abilities and positioning them to actively participate in setting learning goals and monitoring progress may prove an effective addition to previous and ongoing initiatives that seek to guide learners toward learner control over the L2.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of Sociocultural Theory and Second Language Development
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781317229902
ISBN (Print)9781138651555
StatePublished - Jan 1 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Arts and Humanities
  • General Social Sciences


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