scaffolding theory in education
- reducing cognitive load
- facilitating the representation of relationships
- facilitating higher order learning – analysis, synthesis, evaluation
- providing many paths for knowledge retrieval
- supporting the communication of knowledge
Strategic Scaffolding helps learner find alternative strategies and methods to solve complex problems. It’s emphasizes alternative learning pathways and tailored instruction to support individual students. Besides, strategic scaffolding also r equires an understanding of the individual learning preferences of learners and level of prior knowledge. This kind of scaffolding also may require strategies to help simplify and organize information and r equires frequent dialogue with student.
Bruner’s theory of scaffolding emerged around 1976 as a part of social constructivist theory, and was particularly influenced by the work of Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky. Vygotsky argued that we learn best in a social environment, where we construct meaning through interaction with others. His Zone of Proximal Development theory, where we can learn more in the presence of a knowledgeable other person, became the template for Bruner’s model.
Although this may not be possible to do on their own, teachers can improvise and provide scaffolding through other support, including the use of other adults such as teaching assistants (para-educators) parent helpers, or more knowledgeable other children within the classroom.
Vygotsky came up with the idea of ZPD after extensive studying of how young children learn and the effectiveness of different teaching methods. He found that individual knowledge-based tests are often an inaccurate way to measure a young student’s intelligence since children need to interact with others who are more intelligent than they currently are in order to learn. He cited many examples of cultures where young children are taught new skills and knowledge passed down by older generations.
For example, when infants are learning how to walk, they often start by holding onto the clothes or hands of an adult or older child, who guides them. The infant will continue to do this until they have enough skills and strength to walk on their own. This way they’re able to learn to walk much faster than if they were expected to learn without being able to hold onto anything.
Sometimes referred to as front-loading vocabulary, this is a strategy that we teachers don’t use enough. Many of us, myself included, are guilty of sending students all alone down the bumpy, muddy path known as Challenging Text—a road booby-trapped with difficult vocabulary. We send them ill-prepared and then are often shocked when they lose interest, create a ruckus, or fall asleep.
Ask students to share their own experiences, hunches, and ideas about the content or concept of study and have them relate and connect it to their own lives. Sometimes you may have to offer hints and suggestions, leading them to the connections a bit, but once they get there, they will grasp the content as their own.
She asked a group of children between the ages of three and five years to help a puppet to decide which furniture should be placed in the various rooms of a dolls house. First Freund assessed what each child already understood about the placement of furniture (as a baseline measure).
Freund, L. S. (1990). Maternal Regulation of Children’s Problem-solving behavior and Its Impact on Children’s Performance. Child Development, 61, 113-126.