Responsiveness in teacher explanations: A conversation analytical perspective on scaffolding

Tom Koole, Ed Elbers

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    51 Citations (Scopus)


    The concept of ‘scaffolding’ introduced by Wood et al. (1976) figures prominently in educa-tional research but lacks the empirical rigour that allows researchers to establish whetheror not teacher assistance to students is an instance of scaffolding. We used conversa-tion analysis to provide an empirical basis to the notion of ‘responsiveness’ (contingency)that Wood et al. treat as a fundamental characteristic of scaffolding. We analyzed dyadicteacher–student interactions in Dutch 1st grade secondary school mathematics classes anddeveloped responsiveness as an interactional phenomenon: the concept has to rest on theanalysis of how the learner’s actions and the tutor’s responses are interactionally broughtabout.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)57-69
    Number of pages13
    JournalLinguistics and Education
    Publication statusPublished - Jun-2014


    • Scaffolding
    • Teacher–student interaction
    • Contingency
    • Responsiveness
    • Tutoring
    • Conversation analysis

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