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Assisting Performance in Teaching and Learning


Teaching Education Volume 15, Number 4, ISSN 1047-6210


Although Vygotskian principles involving the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) are hailed as tenets undergirding teaching and learning within a constructivist setting, these principals have not been implemented widely within school classrooms. Tharp and Gallimore, building on the notion that learning can be maximized when a teacher has a heightened awareness of a student's ZPD and stimulates new learning based upon this understanding, argue that true teaching is a matter of "assisting performance". This study examines the efforts of one university instructor to assist the performance of her graduate students as they learned to teach, scaffold and support struggling readers. The findings suggest that the university instructor successfully assisted her students by providing supportive feedback, extending their learning and providing appropriate resources through ongoing Email correspondence and face-to-face meetings and tutoring sessions. Success was attributed to the instructor's extensive knowledge of supporting struggling readers, awareness of her students' ZPD's in relation to the context of their learning and her efforts to consistently provide appropriate and specific feedback through iterative dialogue.


Colby, S.A. & Atkinson, T.S. (2004). Assisting Performance in Teaching and Learning. Teaching Education, 15(4), 351-362. Retrieved September 30, 2022 from .

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