Document Type : Research article


1 PhD Candidate, Department of English, Tabriz Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tabriz, Iran

2 Assistant Professor, Department of English, Tabriz Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tabriz, Iran

3 Associate Professor, Department of English, Tabriz Branch, Islamic Azad University, Tabriz, Iran


Learner-centered approaches in second language acquisition and process approach in writing pedagogy has stimulated quite a number of researchers to focus on learners' voices in collaboration passing through multiple drafts and revisions. This study based on the concept of scaffolding learning in Vygotsky's sociocultural theory and process writing approach to second language writing investigated Iranian EFL learners’ negotiation types in small groups of different scaffolding patterns; symmetrical and asymmetrical. To this end, 15 students at High and Low Intermediate Proficiency levels were assigned into three groups in different scaffolding patterns; one asymmetrical group with two High Intermediate - three Low Intermediate learners (H-L), two symmetrical groups with five High Intermediate learners (H-H), another with five Low Intermediate learners (L-L). Small group interactions were observed and recorded. Transcriptions were analyzed to identify negotiation types in terms of language functions among different groups. Therefore, two main categories, Responding and Requesting and their subcategories were found. The subcategories of ''agreeing'', ''explaining'', ''giving opinions'', ''instructing'', ''restating'' and'' suggesting'' were related to the first main category; ''comprehension checking'', ''eliciting opinions'' and ''questioning ''were related to the second main category. According to Chi-square test results, negotiation types were significantly related to the scaffolding pattern as the asymmetrical (H-L) group was superior in the number of language functions used over the symmetrical (L-L, H-H) groups. Nevertheless, members in all groups enjoyed high equality and mutuality in interaction. The findings suggest teachers raise learners' awareness of the diverse strengths and abilities that different scaffolding patterns give them.


  1. Baleghizadeh, S., TimcheMemar, H., & TimcheMemar, A. (2010). The effect of symmetrical versus asymmetrical scaffolding on English reading comprehension of EFL learners. Studies in Literature and Language, 1(7), 104-111.
  2. Biria, R., & Jafari, S. (2013). The impact of collaborative writing on the writing fluency of Iranian EFL learners. Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 4(1), 164-175.
  3. Breen, M. P., & Littlejohn, A. (2000). Classroom decision making. Cambridge University Press.
  4. Ellis, R. (2000). Task-based research and language pedagogy. Language Teaching Research, 4(3), 193-220.
  5. Fahim, M., & Haghani, M. (2012). Sociocultural perspectives on foreign language learning. Journal of Language Teaching and Research, 3(4), 693-699.
  6. Farrah, M. (2012). The impact of peer feedback on improving the writing skills among Hebron university students. An-Najah University Journal for Research-B (Humanities), 26(1), 179-210.
  7. Foster, P., & Ohta, A. S. (2005). Negotiation for meaning and peer assistance in second language classrooms. Applied Linguistics, 26(3), 402-430.
  8. Fung, M. Y. (2006). The nature and dynamics of collaborative writing in Malaysian tertiary ESL Setting (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Massay University, Palmerston, North New Zealand.
  9. Graham, S., & Sandmel, K. (2011). The process writing approach: A meta-analysis. Journal of Educational Research, 104(6), 396-407. 10.1080/00220671.2010.488703
  10. Jafari, N., & Nejad Ansari, D. (2012). The effect of collaboration on Iranian EFL learners’ writing accuracy. International Education Studies, 5(2), 125-131.
  11. Khodabakhshzadeh, H., & Samadi, F. (2018). The effect of collaborative writing on Iranian EFL learners’ task achievement in writing and their perception. International Journal of Applied Linguistics & English Literature, 7(1), 113-119.
  12. Lantolf, J. (2000). Sociocultural theory and second language learning. Oxford University Press.
  13. Li, M., & Kim, D. (2016). One wiki, two groups: Dynamic interactions across ESL collaborative writing tasks. Journal of Second Language Writing, 31(1), 25-42.
  14. Li, M., & Zhu, W. (2017). Good or bad collaborative wiki writing: Exploring links between group interactions and writing products. Journal of Second Language Writing, 35(2), 38-53.
  15. McCutchen, D., Teske, P., & Bankston, C. (2008). Writing and cognition: Implications of the cognitive architecture for learning to write and writing to learn. In C. Bazerman (Ed.), Handbook of writing research (pp. 451-470). Lawrence Erlbaum.
  16. Memari Hanjani, A., & Li, L. (2014). Exploring L2 writers’ collaborative revision interactions and their writing performance. System, 44(4),101-114.
  17. Mendoca, C., & Johnson, K. (1994). Peer review negotiations: Revision activities in ESL writing instruction. TESOL Quarterly, 28(4), 745-769.
  18. Ohta, A. S. (2001). Second language acquisition processes in the classroom: Learning Japanese. Lawrence Erlbaum.
  19. Rijlaarsdam, G., & Van den Bergh, H. (2006). Writing process theory: A functional dynamic approach. In C. A. MacArthur, S. Graham, & J. Fitzgerald (Eds.), The handbook of writing research (pp. 41 - 53). Guilford Publications.
  20. Shortreed, I. M. (1993). Variation in foreigner talk input: The effects of task and proficiency. In G. Crookes & S. M. Gass (Eds.), Tasks and language learning: Integrating theory and practice (pp. 96-122). Multilingual Matters.
  21. Soleimani, M., Modirkhamene, S., & Sadeghi, K. (2015). Peer-mediated vs. individual writing: Measuring fluency, complexity, and accuracy in writing. Innovation in Language Learning and Teaching, 9(3), 1-15.
  22. Storch, N. (2002). Patterns of interaction in ESL pair work. Language Learning, 52(1), 119-158.
  23. Storch, N. (2005). Collaborative writing: Product, process, and students’ reflections. Journal of Second Language Writing, 14(3), 153-173.
  24.  Strauss, A. L., & Corbin, J. M. (1998). Basics of qualitative research (2nd ed.). Sage.
  25. Vygotsky, L. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. Harvard University Press.
  26. Watanabe, Y. (2008). Peer-peer interaction between L2 learners of different proficiency levels: The interactions and reflections. Canadian Modern Language Review, 64(4), 605-635.
  27. Wells, G. (2000). Dialogic inquiry in education: Building on the legacy of Vygotsky. In C. Lee & P. Smagorinsky (Eds.), Vygostkian perspectives on literacy research: Constructing meaning through collaborative inquiry (pp. 51-85). Cambridge University Press.
  28. Yu, R. (2008). Interaction in EFL classes. Asian Social Science, 4(4), 48-50.
  29. Yule, G., & Macdonald, D. (1990). Resolving referential conflict in L2 interaction: The effect of proficiency and interactive role. Language Learning, 40(4), 539-556.