Scaffolding in education can help skyrocket your kids’ learning efforts!
One day, walking into my living room, I saw my toddler struggling to open the lid of a sippy cup. I stood there for a while, watching him, and I realized that he was frustrated and just about ready to give up. I immediately went up to him, pointed at the opening of the cup, and waited until he figured out how to open it. That day, I realized the importance of providing the right support at the right time.
Opening the lid of a sippy cup for the first time for a toddler is quite like learning a new math concept without a teacher’s support for a child or assembling an electronic device without a manual for an adult. Imagine how impossible or frustrating it could seem at first.
This is where scaffolding in education comes into the picture. If done strategically, scaffolding in education can help learners go from “what can I do?” to “what more can I do?” It helps students explore a world full of possibilities and make way for a brighter future!
Read on to find out all about scaffolding.
What Is Scaffolding in Education?
Scaffolding in education is a process where teachers provide temporary support to students in completing tasks that are generally beyond a student’s capabilities. It provides a framework to describe a teacher’s role in a student’s learning.
The concept of scaffolding in education builds on the zone of proximal development (ZDP). ZDP refers to the difference between what a learner can do without help and what the learner can do with help. However, scaffolding defines the ‘amount’ of help or support that needs to be given.
The idea is to provide the right amount of support at the right time. Too little help can frustrate students, and too much support can make them dependent on the teacher. Therefore, the most appropriate way would be to assist only in the areas where students struggle. This is also to ensure that students complete as much of the task as possible by themselves.
Just like physical scaffolding, the amount of support provided is consciously reduced or even completely removed, and the responsibility of learning shifts from the teacher to the student.
Examples of Scaffolding in Education
Teachers who use effective scaffolding in the classroom are more likely to prepare students for independent learning and execution. This is because learners who are given the right amount of support while learning a new concept or skill are more likely to use that learning independently later.
Thus, using the right examples of scaffolding strategies at the right time makes all the difference.
Here are a few of these examples of strategies that teachers can use in their classrooms for effective learning.
When introducing something new or teaching a complex lesson, building on a student’s existing knowledge is always better. At times, this may happen naturally, but the teacher may need to consciously connect the new knowledge with the student’s existing knowledge by providing links and connections.
Once students can form a connection between this new knowledge and the existing one, the teacher can then immediately notice the change in a student’s level of understanding.
SplashLearn worksheets are designed to help parents and teachers make the best use of this scaffolding strategy.
Teaching Key Vocabulary in Advance
When learning a new topic, children may get confused by terms they don’t understand. An introduction or a quick revision of key vocabulary terms in advance can help students focus better.
For example, when introducing addition and subtraction, it is better to ensure that children are comfortable with words such as ‘more’ and ‘less.’
Using Visual Aids
When teaching a new concept, make sure to introduce it through visuals. It helps them build connections with their previous knowledge and better understand the concept or skill.
For example, using concrete objects, models, pictures, or even games in math instructions reduces abstraction and makes math more understandable.
SplashLearn’s math games are an excellent visual tool that makes abstract math concepts easier for students to understand and practice.
Having kids create models of the problems they are solving helps them solidify their thinking. For example, when teaching addition and subtraction, number bonds may prove to be an excellent model that helps students relate numbers. Teachers may also make good use of mind maps to discern students’ level of understanding better. This helps them provide the right support in the right area.
Fostering a Healthy Environment
The classroom environment should be supportive and encouraging. It is also important to ensure that students are not afraid to experience failures. Students should feel free to take risks, and teachers should encourage them to try different approaches to solve problems independently.
Every child is different, and therefore, their learning styles also need to be different. Teachers need to experiment with different scaffolding strategies to determine what works best for a particular child.
Benefits of Scaffolding in Education
Makes complex concepts easier
Concept retention becomes easier when teachers scaffold topics and concepts that students have had difficulty with. Students take in information in small chunks and master hard concepts.
Engages students and boosts understanding
Different instructional strategies and scaffolding engage students in large and small groups. This, in turn, facilitates meaningful discussion, which fosters growth and skill mastery.
Increases concentration levels
As students spend more time practicing key skills and concepts, they develop a better focus and thus become better students.
Helps monitor students’ progress levels
As scaffolding is based upon continuously checking students’ levels of understanding of different concepts, it helps teachers create a personalized learning path for students.
Fosters a collaborative learning environment
Scaffolding in education enables peer-teaching and group learning. This helps create a healthy learning environment that encourages collective growth.
When teachers customize their learning methods, magical results come into the classroom. But just like everything else, it takes time. Using techniques like scaffolding, differentiated instruction, instructional strategies, etc., lets teachers focus on students’ learning styles and skyrocket their learning growth!