Many Chinese students studying in the United States (U.S.) today report that they do not have a “voice.” They feel marginalized because of a lack of communicative competence in English and their inability to understand Western cultures, especially during their first year in the U.S. (Ching et al.). Some Chinese students are unable to adapt to the academic environment in American high schools, which leads to feelings of exclusion. To smooth this transitional period, this study suggests that the scaffolding (see Bruner, 1978, 1985) from ESL teachers in both verbal and written forms be implemented before students are placed into mainstream academic classes. By underscoring strategic methods through the lens of Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) integrated with the Socratic Seminar that allows students to actively and cooperatively develop knowledge and critical thinking skills, ESOL teachers would be provided with effective techniques to enhance Chinese students’ academic English writing.



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