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How to Use Scaffolding in Your Classes to Increase Your Students’ Achievement

Scaffolding students’ learning can increase their achievement. This article includes what you must know about it and how to use it in your classes.

What is Scaffolding

Scaffolding doesn’t mean:

  • Reducing the complexity of the task.
  • Replacing the task.
  • Telling students what they are going to learn.

But, it is an instructional technique whereby the teacher models the desired learning strategy or task, and then gradually shifts the responsibility to the students.

Students become independent, self-regulated learners through instruction that is deliberately and carefully scaffolded.

Overall, scaffolding is about helping and guiding learners in the classroom to do the learning tasks and achieve learning objectives.

The Goals of Scaffolding

  • The ultimate goal of scaffolding is to provide the support and guidance necessary for students to become independent, self-regulated learners.
  • Scaffolding provides the help necessary for students to learn new information or complete assigned tasks successfully.
  • Scaffolding is to provide instructions that help students accomplish the learning tasks by themselves.

Benefits of Scaffolding

An Example of Scaffolding

The clearest example of scaffolding is what parents do with their children to encourage them to speak:

  • Motivating them to listen first and demonstrate how to do that.
  • Providing them with models of how spoken language is produced.
  • Motivating them to start speaking.
  • Support their attempts with praise.

Ways to Apply Scaffolding

  • Modelling.
  • Prompting.
  • Thinking out loud.
  • Guiding the discussion with leading questions.
  • Pairing advanced learners with developing ones.
  • Showing how to use the internet.

Scaffolding in the Classroom

Two key features of scaffolding in the classroom:

1. Extending understandings:

The word “extending” here points to the ways scaffolding enables students to develop understandings and successfully complete tasks that they would not be able to do independently.

2. Temporary support:

Another key aspect that is crucial to scaffolding is the temporary nature of the support provided by teachers.

What Should You Do To Scaffold Learning In The Classroom?

  • Ask open-ended questions.
  • Repeat the new language.
  • Rephrase and model.
  • Pause-prompt-praise.
  • Extend.
  • Listen actively.
  • Use graphic organizers and mind mapping.
  • Utilizing educational software and web quests.

Scaffolding Techniques

  • Verbal
  • Instructional
  • Procedural

Verbal Scaffolding:

  • Paraphrasing.
  • Think-aloud.
  • Reinforce contextual definitions.

Instructional Scaffolding:

Use scaffolding to help students understand what they are learning. For example: Use a graphic organizer to highlight what material is covered in a particular chapter or lesson.

Instructional scaffolding could be employed through modelling a task, giving advice, and/or providing coaching.

Procedural Scaffolding:

Use some procedures to help students manipulate information. For example: Use wait time when asking questions to give all students an opportunity to respond. Provide discussion prompts or leading questions to support discussions.

Teacher Requirements for Scaffolding

  • Knowledge of content.
  • Knowledge of students.
  • Knowledge of learning theory.
  • Knowledge of strategies and tools.


Students learn more when they are actively engaged in instructional tasks and become more independent, self-regulated learners through instruction that is explicit. Moreover, they become independent, self-regulated learners through instruction that is deliberately and carefully scaffolded.

Scaffolding allows and encourages them to take ownership of their own learning.

Scaffolding must begin from what is near to the students’ experience and build to what is further from their experience. Likewise, at the beginning of a new task, scaffolding should be concrete, external and visible.

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