The Effect of Symmetrical versus Asymmetrical Scaffolding on English Reading Comprehension of EFL Learners

Sasan Baleghizadeh, Hossein Timcheh Memar, Abbas Timcheh Memar


The present study was aimed at clarifying the effect, if any, of symmetrical scaffolding versus asymmetrical scaffolding on English reading comprehension of Iranian students. The research was carried out on 80 elementary male students in six classes. The six classes were randomly assigned to two inter-class groups, i.e. symmetrical group (SG) and asymmetrical group (AG). Then two parallel tests in the form of a cloze test served as the pre- and post-tests. Since the students accomplished answering the cloze tests with recourse to their similar dictionaries, the results were regarded as the potential knowledge, i.e. zone of proximal development (ZPD), of the students in reading comprehension. In each of the intra-groups of the SG, consisting of four (at times three) students, the students with similar ZPDs in reading comprehension were asked to work together. While in each of the three classes of the AG, the students with different ZPDs in reading comprehension were grouped together. After the intra-class group assignment, the students worked on ten reading comprehension texts in their groups. At the end of the study two independent and two dependent t-tests were run, which indicated that the SG outperformed the AG. Key words: scaffolding; zone of proximal development (ZPD); more knowledgeable other (MKO)

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