Have you ever heard about a worthwhile learning activity that sounded great but wasn’t achievable for your learners?
Your learners might still be able to tackle that challenging activity with the help of scaffolding. In fact, many worthwhile learning goals such as answering higher-order thinking questions, participating in role plays, listening to speeches, and giving presentations are complex, making scaffolding a vital teaching skill.
(Did you react to that list of complex tasks by saying that your learners can’t do those things? Keep reading!)
Scaffolding, in education, means making a complex task achievable by offering students temporary supports. There are many ways to scaffold.
As an example, let’s say a beginning level ESL class would like watch the president’s inaugural address. How might a teacher turn this into a valuable learning experience?
Any learning goal can be broken down until the steps become manageable, whether it is an adult emergent reader who wants to get a driver’s license (learn to recognize and interpret traffic signs) or an intermediate ESL student who wants to earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing (learn basic anatomy terms).
Other useful steps for scaffolding include:
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