Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


School of Education


This qualitative multiple-case study investigated the emotional perceptions of English-as-a-foreign language learners (EFLs) and an English writing instructor as they met online via the Zoom application. Dynamic Assessment (DA) and the Vygotskyan perezhivanie notion guided the study. DA is an interactive assessment approach that combines instruction and assessment processes during student-instructor interactions with the goal of diagnosing and developing learners’ abilities. As to the perezhivanie notion, Vygotsky (1994) argued for uncovering the particular prism through which the individual refracts (i.e., shapes) the influence of the environment, and how she “becomes aware of, interprets, and emotionally relates to a certain event” (p. 341). As the researcher and writing instructor, I held eight individualized sessions with three Persian-speaking English learners to jointly review the essays they wrote alone and re-wrote following our review session. I video-recorded all these sessions.

During these individualized sessions, I utilized DA principles to assist participants in identifying and revising the challenges arising from language usage, as well as essay-level issues such as thesis statement and paragraphing. That is, when assisting participants, I always started with general help related to the issue of focus, and then gradually moved on to more specific and relevant guidance if participants needed more help to identify and self-correct a given error. As such, I adhered to the nature of help as it is characteristic of Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development. All interactions took place in Persian, the participants’ and researcher’s first language. I used the Geneva Emotion Wheel (GEW) to identify the emotions perceived by the participants and I at the start and end of each session–the identification step. I then interviewed participants about their perceived emotions and took notes on why I felt that way at the two time points for each tutorial – the exploration step. I focused on participants’ perceptions of why they emotionally experienced a specific situation in a particular way during these interviews.

I discovered that emotions permeated the DA sessions and the participants experienced both positive and negative emotions under six main patterns. The study also showed how the individuals’ emotional experiences differed from one another and were sparked by various triggers. Finally, although all three participants acknowledged experiencing negative emotions, they all agreed that these emotions had a positive effect on how they engaged with the mediator as well as with revising their essays due to the instructor’s positive language such as praise. My findings hold implications, among other things, for creating optimal learning environments during DA tutorials and investigating the developmental nature of learners’ emotional experiences and how they relate to mediation in the ZPD and its effectiveness.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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