Q. What does scaffolding mean when used with lesson planning?
A. Scaffolding is support the teacher gives the student in any number of ways, ranging from hints or feedback to doing the task for the student as a demonstration. Most often, it will involve designing practice with a particular subject at the skill level accessible to the student. The value of scaffolding is that the student learns to master the task, strategy or skill using easier material, and then moves toward mastery of higher level content with more confidence and actual understanding.
Scaffolding is one step in "cognitive apprenticeship", a model of instruction that works to make thinking visible.
H. Lee Swanson of UC Irvine found that scaffolding is one of the nine most effective instructional interventions in his meta-analysis of 180 research studies, all reporting effective methods producing positive outcomes.
To read about how to use scaffolding while designing and teaching a strategy, click here.
Please send your questions and/or answers for either teachers or students to Gerry Lewin for possible posting.
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