Provide scaffolding during learning to help students work beyond their current abilities and learn more efficiently.
Scaffolding is a teaching method that involves gradually shedding the instructor’s assistance as students increase their understanding. Scaffolding serves a variety of purposes during learning, allowing the instructor to:
All of these will help students to eventually take ownership of their own learning and perform independently.
Scaffolding should occur at multiple places throughout the learning process. The following steps are one way of thinking about how to devise and incorporate scaffolding throughout.
In the first steps we are concerned with understanding students’ prior knowledge (see Diagnostic Assessment), considering the learning outcomes we want for this audience, and then considering which scaffolds will help students reach these goals.
The following techniques are ways to incorporate scaffolding at three different points in the learning process.
The following are several activities to consider to help scaffold learning.
One popular method for scaffolding is to begin by modeling (I do), then having students work together (We do), and finally attempting to succeed at the task on their own (You do).
Instruction – “I do”
Guided Practice – “We do”
Independent Practice – “You do”
By modeling the task first, students are able to concentrate on how you go about a task without being distracted by trying to do it themselves. This is a high level of scaffolding. Next, during guided practice, difficulty is increased, but students receive scaffolding from the instructor and fellow students. Finally, as ability increases, scaffolding is removed and students attempt the task themselves.