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HomenewsCultureRumi in the Language Classroom: Misscaffolding

Rumi in the Language Classroom: Misscaffolding

by Jaber Kamali

Rumi in the Language Classroom Vol 8

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In this eighth volume, the story of “a policeman and a drunk” in Rumi’s Masnavi-e-Manavi is discussed. This is the story of a drunk who is caught by a policeman and is asked to go to the police station. The policeman asks the drunk, “What have you taken?” and the drunk responds, “What is inside the bottle.” The policeman then asks, “What is inside the bottle?” and the drunk replies “What I have drunk.” These irrelevant answers continue by the drunk man and at the end, he says “You cannot expect logical answers from me since I am drunk, otherwise I would have been at work.”

This story obviously delineates one of the concepts we have introduced elsewhere (Tajeddin & Kamali, 2020) named misscaffolding. This is a type of scaffolding happening in classes through which the teacher tries to scaffold and correct the mistakes, but the learner misunderstands them. This mostly occurs because the learner is concentrating on the message while the correction considers the form. We exemplified this type of scaffolding where a learner has a mispronunciation of a word desert and the teacher tries to correct it but the learner corrects the plurality of it. See the following extract.

87. L1: Teacher! The Sahara deserts/dIzerts/or Sahara Desert/dIzert/?

88. T: No, desert/dIzert/

89. L1: No, deserts/dIzerts/or desert/dIzert/?

90. T: Desert/dIzert/  (Tajeddin & Kamali, 2020, p. 339)

Although the story of Rumi has a deeper message which is the prominence of love over logic, the one I described is the hidden message of this story for ELT teachers and trainers. Whenever teachers decide to scaffold or correct learners in the ELT classrooms, they should think about this poem and its applications in ELT and make sure that learners are paying attention before going for scaffolding. Then check the hypothesis created by asking the students some questions. That is why we proposed a new model for classroom interaction consisting of Initiation/ Response/ Feedback/ Uptake (IRFU) in which Uptake refers to students’ reaction to teacher’s correction and scaffolding instead of the classic classroom interaction pattern of Initiation/ Response/ Evaluation (IRE) or Initiation/ Response/ Feedback (IRF).


Tajeddin, Z., & Kamali, J. (2020). Typology of scaffolding in teacher discourse: Large data‐based evidence from second language classrooms. International Journal of Applied Linguistics30(2), 329-343.

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