How to Use Scaffolding Strategies in the Classroom

Use scaffolding techniques in your classroom.

Scaffolding is performed properly by a teacher through modeling a given task and slowly transferring the knowledge to the student. The students are then able to do the learning on their own. It is important for teachers to know how to execute scaffolding in their classrooms so that students who cannot learn something independently are able to do so after initial guidance. The art of scaffolding takes patience, but with practice it can be done with ease.

Define the task at hand for students to complete. Explain what it is through words and/or visual aids.

Model the specific learning skill. This can be done through direct or indirect instruction.

Give specifics to students through a sequence of events. Instruct step-by-step.

Provide students with prompts, cues or hints to assist them in getting to the answer or skill on their own. You are essentially giving them a push in the right direction without giving the answer or skill away.

Step back from the learning that is taking place to observe students' independent work. Make sure that students are ready to work on their own before you slowly remove yourself. You should see students grasp the concept on their own. During this time you can do some type of formative assessment of students. For example, you could give points for participation or check for understanding.

  • Consider pairing advanced students with struggling learners to further promote scaffolding. Promote group collaboration.

Sarah Mollman began writing for "The Northern Iowan" newspaper in 2005. She was awarded scholarships from the Department of English at the University of Northern Iowa for Outstanding Short Story and Outstanding Personal Essay in 2008. Mollman holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Teaching from the University of Northern Iowa.