Scaffolding

Scaffolding

In Vygotsky’s words, “What the child is able to do in collaboration today he will be able to do independently tomorrow” (Vygotsky, 1987). This initial idea was developed by Jerome Bruner (1983) with the theory of oral language acquisition. Nowadays we understand Scaffolding as the support given during the learning process, which is tailored to, needs of the student with the intention of helping the student achieve his/her learning goals (Sawyer, 2006).

There is an collaborative interaction between teacher – learner, the teacher role is a facilitator, teachers provide the sufficient support to promote learning when concepts and skills are being first introduce to students. With this first introduction and the previous knowledge, this stage is called: “Zone of proximal development”. Teachers help students to move from what they can do to what can be achieved with support, when students can do it by them self called “Expert stage” (Ellis & Worthington 1994).

First we need to set up the goal according to student’s initial evaluation and adapt these goal to the different students’ needs, we are working with a student-centred approach. We can divide a normal class in three main groups according to their different goals. When we are ready, we divide the different goal in manageable subgoal “I can…” now it’s time to move students to the final goals. If we want to be effective we need to take into account:

  • Selecting of learning task (the task should be engaging and interesting to keep learners involved)

  • Proactive, anticipation of errors

We encourage students to reach their final goals giving praise / feedback. It is important to select and divide the task in subgoal that is approachable so we aren’t looking for demotivation; we are looking for keeping learners involved. Thus, we are proactive anticipating the possible problems.

Sometimes as teachers we used to reveal the answer to fast, the main idea is to create cognition and independent learners, we are facilitators. Remember Bloom’s taxonomy, skinny and fat questions and the last step that our students need to achieve “creativity“.

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