Group dynamic assessment: Mediation for the l2 classroom

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Dynamic assessment (DA) offers a conceptual framework for teaching and assessment according to which the goals of understanding individuals' abilities and promoting their development are not only complementary but are in fact dialectically integrated. More specifically, DA follows Vygotsky's proposal of the zone of proximal development (ZPD) by offering learners external forms of mediation in order to help them perform beyond their current level of independent functioning (Vygotsky, 1986). A major challenge to implementing DA in second language (L2) classrooms is that these contexts typically do not permit the one-to-one interactions that have characterized most DA work to date (and ZPD research more generally). This article explores the use of DA with groups of classroom L2 learners rather than individuals. Group dynamic assessment (G-DA) applies the same principles of mediation as in individualized interactions but broadens the focus to potentially an entire class. Vygotsky himself recognized the possibility of constructing a group ZPD by negotiating mediation with more than one individual (see Vygotsky, 1998). Transcriptions of G-DA interactions involving L2 classroom learners are presented. It is argued that organizing classroom activity in this way enables teachers to explore and promote the group's ZPD while also supporting the development of individual learners.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)471-491
Number of pages21
JournalTESOL Quarterly
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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