You are on page 1of 25

Support students with diverse learning needs through Scaffolding their Learning

Developed by Mrs Elsa Lombard Centre for Teaching, Learning and Media NMMU

Does the following scenario fits you?
You are trying for engage students in challenging academic work. Your students need to learn how to learn skills. You have a very diverse student group.

Intro cont
Students progress most effectively when they have been well equipped, well prepared and well guided along the path. Successful academic efforts always made significant use of scaffolding to support and organise the learning.

Think of Scaffolds as:

When we think of scaffolding we have a picture of a house or building in the process of being constructed. The building cannot stand on its own yet, but have the potential to do, provided that it is supported in the process. Support a sound foundation with increasing independence for the learner, as understanding becomes more secure.

What it is
A form of assistance provided to a student by a lecturer that helps the students perform a task that would normally not be possible to accomplish by working independently (McLoughlin & Marshall, 2000) It engages the students actively at their current level of understanding until the point where the support is no longer required (McLoughlin @ Marshall, 2000)

According to the literature:

Scaffolded instruction is "the systematic sequencing of prompted content, materials, tasks, and teacher and peer support to optimize learning" (Dickson, Chard, & Simmons, 1993). Scaffolding is a process in which students are given support until they can apply new skills and strategies independently (Rosenshine & Meister, 1992). Provision of an enabling context that provide advice, support and guidance to learners (McLoughlin & Marshall, 2000)

What should scaffolds provide?

Provide clear directions we do not want students wondering about like prospectors in the desert. Clarify purpose Why are we doing this? Keeps purpose and motivation in the forefront. Lessons aspires to meaning and worth. Build around essential questions. Helps to keep the big picture central and in focus. Students are let in on the secret early. Keep students focused on task; develop ontask student behaviours; focus their learning Offer assessment to clarify purpose 7

What should scaffolds provide?(2)

Direct students to worthy sources Reduce uncertainty and disappointment Deliver efficiency - Time-efficient practices Create momentum
Jamie McKenzie: Beyond Technology: Questioning, Research and the Information Literate School Community

Types of scaffolds
Functional Helps learner understand how to use and/or interpret the software.
Tutorials Instructions Explanations of representations

Process Helps learner understand his/her path within the software.

Sequencing Mandatory, voluntary Linear, non-linear, hierarchical History of user's path

Content Helps the learner figure out an answer

Hints Content information

Metacognitive Helps the learner to be aware of his/her own learning through reflection, monitoring, etc.
Assessment of understanding (Do I know more/understand better now?) Progress reflection through the learning process

Interpersonal- Helps facilitate social interaction

Class management Turn taking Communication

Procedural scaffolds support the communication process.


Scaffolding Guidelines
Pre-engagement with the student and the curriculum. The lecturer considers curriculum goals and the students' needs to select appropriate tasks Establish a shared goal. The students may become more motivated and invested in the learning process when the lecturer works with each student to plan instructional goals.


Scaffolding Guidelines (2)

Actively diagnose student needs and understandings. The lecturer must be knowledgeable of content and sensitive to the students (e.g., aware of the students' background knowledge and misconceptions) to determine if they are making progress. Provide tailored assistance. This may include cueing or prompting, questioning, modeling, telling, or discussing. The lecturer uses these as needed and adjusts them to meet the students' needs.

Cont (2)
Maintain pursuit of the goal. The lecturer can ask questions and request clarification as well as offer praise and encouragement to help students remain focused on their goals. Give feedback. To help students learn to monitor their own progress, the lecturer can summarize current progress and explicitly note behaviors that contributed to each student's success.


Cont (3)
Control for frustration and risk. The lecturer can create an environment in which the students feel free to take risks with learning by encouraging them to try alternatives. Assist internalization, independence, and generalization to other contexts. This means that the teacher helps the students to be less dependent on the teacher's extrinsic signals to begin or complete a task and also provides the opportunity to practice the task in a variety of contexts.

Other guidelines for effective scaffolding includes the following:

Begin with what the students can do. Students need to be aware of their strengths and to feel good about tasks they can do with little or no assistance. Help students achieve success quickly. Although students need challenging work in order to learn, frustration and a "cycle of failure" may set in quickly if students do not experience frequent success. Help students to "be" like everyone else. Students want to be similar to and accepted by their peers. If given the opportunity and support, some students may work harder at tasks in order to appear 15 more like their peers.

Other guidelines for effective scaffolding includes the following (2):

Know when it is time to stop. Practicing is important to help students remember and apply their knowledge, but too much may impede the learning. "Less is more" may be the rule when students have demonstrated that they can perform the task. Help students to be independent when they have command of the activity. Teachers need to watch for clues from their students that show when and how much teacher assistance is needed.

Fit scaffolds to a variety of student needs

Diversity of learning styles multi-sensory approach to learning; multiple mode of delivery (verbal\pictorial\diagramatic) Range of abilities Varied amount of content knowledge


Some examples of scaffolds include:

Graphic organizers (charts, diagrams, graphs) Guides (listening guides, viewing guides) Templates (writing templates, storyboards) Prompts (sentence starters) Supports (modeling, questions that activate student knowledge, translations, glossaries, calculators, explanations and clarifications)



Questions as scaffolds
What is a literature review?
What are the main issues I need to read up on? What THEORY text do I need to read? What EMPIRICAL STUDIES will be relevant to my topic? Are there any relevant studies that have been done in a different context? What is the GAP in the literature?

Examples cont
explanations inviting student participation teachers checking the students' emerging understandings modeling Inviting Students to Contribute Clues


Specific ideas (should have one or more Core Processes involved)

Learning Logs Supported Writing Editing of Writing (Tracking) Timelines Forms Surveys Concept/Thinking Maps Recordkeeping/Charting Interactive Pictures Links/Bookmarks Interactive Documents Advanced Topics: Interactive Reports, cartoons, animations, quizzes, pop up icons, sound and music


Some URLs
Benson, B. (1997). Scaffolding. Retrieved March 20, 2004, from Brush, T. A, & Saye, J. W. (2002). A summary of research exploring hard and soft scaffolding for teachers and students using a multimedia supported learning environment. Retrieved January 09, 2004, from . Lange, V. L. (2002). Instructional scaffolding. Retrieved January 29, 2004, from .doc. Larkin, M. (2002). Using scaffolded instruction to optimize learning. Retrieved January 29, 2004, from . Morelock, M. J., Brown, P. M., & Morrissey, A. (2003). Pretend play and maternal scaffolding: Comparison of toddlers with advanced development, typical development and hearing impairment. Retrieved February 16, 2004, from . Verenikina, I. (1998). Understanding scaffolding and the ZPD in educational research. Retrieved March 12, 2004, from 23

Applebee, A.N., & Langer, J. (1983). Instructional scaffolding: Reading and writing as natural language activities. Language Arts, 60, 2, 168-175. Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development (Producer). (2002). How to scaffold instruction for student success. [videotape]. (available from the Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, 1703 North Beauregard Street, Alexandria,VA 22311-1714). Beed, P. L., Hawkins, E. M., & Roller, C. M. (1991). Moving learners toward independence: The power of scaffolded instruction. The Reading Teacher, 44, 648-655. Dickson, S. V., Chard, D. J., & Simmons, D. C. (1993). An integrated reading/writing curriculum: A focus on scaffolding. LD Forum, 18(4), 12-16. Hogan, K., & Pressley, M. (Eds.). (1997). Scaffolding student learning: Instructional approaches and issues. Cambridge, 24 MA: Brookline Books.


Kame'enui, E. J., Carnine, D. W., Dixon, R. C., Simmons, D. C., & Coyne, M. D. (2002). Effective teaching strategies that accommodate diverse learners (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill Prentice Hall. Larkin, M. J. (2001). Providing support for student independence through scaffolded instruction. TEACHING Exceptional Children, 34(1), 30-34. Pressley, M., Hogan, K., Wharton-McDonald,R., Mistretta, J., & Ettenberger, S. (1996). The challenges of instructional scaffolding: The challenges of instruction that supports student thinking. Learning Disabilities Research & Practice, 11(3), 138-146. Roehler, L. R. and Cantlon, D. J. (1997). Scaffolding: A Powerfull Tool in Social Constructivist Classrooms. In Hogan, K. and Pressley, M. (red.), Scaffolding Student Learning. Instructional Approaches & Issues. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Brookline Books Rosenshine, B. & Meister, C. (1992). The use of scaffolds for teaching higher-level cognitive strategies. Educational Leadership, 25 49(7), 26-33.