Pedagogies for scaffolding thinking in ESL: Integrating first principles of learning

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Students' inhibition and lack of interaction that result from poor motivation and poor language competencies are major challenges for the teachers teaching English as a second language (ESL) or English as a foreign language (EFL) worldwide. Recently, enhancing the thinking skills of ESL learners has been proposed to increase learner engagement. Research shows that there are many cultural factors as well as educational traditions which impede developing interactive and engaging ESL learning environments, particularly in acquisition-poor learning environments (Campbell & Li, 2008; Canagarajah, 1999; Gunawardena, Sooriyampola, & Walisundara, 2017). While there are values and benefits of pedagogies used in some contexts, such as “the Confucian education in China” (Li & Wegerif, 2014), developing newer approaches that reflect principles of human learning would be useful to make learning much more achievable for learners. Undoubtedly, good teachers may have established their own solutions to the aforementioned problems to increase effective student learning, yet macro-level scaffolding would benefit all learners. Inspired by studies on developing thinking skills in ESL, this chapter seeks to establish a practical model to scaffold students' thinking in ESL lessons by incorporating the “first five principles of instructional design” (Merrill, 2002) to capture students' attention and thus promote thinking dispositions. It will then discuss feedback provided by 10 teachers who implemented the model in Sri Lankan schools.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThinking Skills and Creativity in Second Language Education
Subtitle of host publicationCase Studies from International Perspectives
EditorsLi Li
Place of PublicationOxon, UK
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781315098920
ISBN (Print)9781138297937, 9781138297944
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jun 2019

Publication series

NameResearch on Teaching Thinking and Creativity


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