NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ846307
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Jan
Pages: 14
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 51
ISSN: ISSN-1094-3501
Triadic Scaffolds: Tools for Teaching English Language Learners with Computers
Meskill, Carla
Language Learning & Technology, v9 n1 p46-59 Jan 2005
Active communication with others is key to human learning. This straightforward premise currently undergirds much theory and research in student learning in general, and in second language and literacy learning in particular. Both of these academic areas have long acknowledged communication's central role in successful learning with the exact intricacies of instructional conversations and the forms these take having been the focus of close analysis (Cazden, 1988; Gee, 2001; Nystrand, Gamoran, Kachur, & Prendergast, 1997; Tharp & Galimore, 1991; van Lier, 2000). In this examination of computer-supported classroom discourse, specific forms of instructional conversation employed by a veteran elementary teacher of beginning-level English language learners (ELLs) are examined. The focal teacher orchestrates instructional conversations around computers with children whose immediate needs are to learn the English language, specifically the "language of school" and the concomitant social complexities implied in order to participate in mainstream instructional activity. With these goals shaping language and literacy activity, their ESOL (English for speakers of other languages) teacher makes use of the computer to capture, motivate, and anchor learner attention to, and render comprehensible the target language they hear and see on and around the computer screen. The anatomy of the activity she orchestrates around the computer and the language she uses to support it--labeled here as "triadic scaffolds"--are the focus of analysis. Forms and functions of triadic discourse (teacher, learner, computer) are examined for their potential unique role in second language and literacy instruction. (Contains 2 figures and 2 notes.)
University of Hawaii National Foreign Language Resource Center. 1859 East-West Road #106, Honolulu, HI 96822. Tel: 808-956-9424; Fax: 808-956-5983; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A