Scaffolding: Everything You Need to Know

This occurs when an older individual assists a student in his/her learning process and uses their superior knowledge and experience to speed up the student’s academic progress. In this powerful educational practice, an educator may demonstrate how to solve a problem or share new information. The teacher then steps back and allows the students to practice on their own. Structured support or scaffolding is put in place before the students become fully independent. At the starting of the scaffolding process, teachers provide lots of support. They then remove the support in stages. The gradual decrease in the support level is what forms the scaffolding process. Step by step, the process imparts confidence with new skills and concepts, helping students master them. Implementing scaffolding techniques in the classroom becomes second nature to the majority of teachers.

Some fun and engaging scaffolding strategies in the classroom include:

Using prior knowledge: Students come to class with experience and knowledge of many different things. Educators who connect new learning to earlier life experiences help pupils absorb information more quickly. Pupils retain and understand fresh information more readily when they can connect it to the topics they already know.

Model: Teaching pupils how to do something by demonstrating how to do it could be an effective method to scaffolding learning. Teachers can problem-solve by talking students through the process or walking them through the steps. Teachers can also have pupils model for their classmates.

Sharing important vocabulary: Scaffolding is effective across all educational subject fields. One area where pupils may require additional scaffolding is reading. Teachers can share particular vocabulary items that may create challenges before approaching a particularly complicated text. This scaffolding method should focus on words that are important for full comprehension of the text.

Talking about it: Since individuals require time to reflect on their learning, it can be helpful to give pupils time to absorb what they’ve just seen before they apply that knowledge to their individual work. Teachers sometimes facilitate this type of reflection by putting students in small groups or pairs to talk to each other.

Showing what teachers mean: Graphic organizers can be very useful in aiding students to organize their thinking about interrelated or complex pieces of information. These visual aids help pupils how they think about one concept in connection with others. Graphic organizers can guide students through a new task or process and remind them about it.

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