Best Practice

In the classroom: Getting scaffolding right

Scaffolding is an essential part of teaching, but has its real meaning become lost? Annabel Daniels says we must focus on scaffolding strategies rather than tools. With a focus on English study, she offers some practical reflections

What comes to mind when you think of scaffolding? Writing frames? Sentence starters? Differentiated worksheets? Often, we think of scaffolding as breaking down the task. However, just because we have broken down a task into steps, does this mean that students know how to complete each step?

There are two common perceptions of scaffolding:

So what is the function? The theory behind scaffolding (Wood et al, 1976; Vygotsky, 1978; Gallimore et al, 1990; Stone, 1993) suggests that key features of the process are:

However, as a result of performative culture in the UK, schools have broadened the term “scaffolding” to include any tool that aids teaching. This is inaccurate.

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