Tips for Teachers: 28. Modelling and Scaffolding

Apr 23, 2024 | Blogs

Tips for Teachers: 28. Modelling and Scaffolding

Apr 23, 2024 | Blogs

‘Effective modelling and scaffolding reduces the extraneous load on students’ working memories and strengthens schema, making learning more efficient, more manageable, and easier for them to retrieve.’ (Adam Riches, 2022)

Modelling and scaffolding are essential elements of effective pedagogy. Bruner believed that when children learn new concepts, they need assistance from teachers and other adults in the form of active support. Initially learners will be reliant on support but as they become more proficient and acquire the skills and knowledge needed, they are less reliant and the support can be reduced and eventually removed altogether.

The EEF defines scaffolding as ​a metaphor for temporary support that is removed when it is no longer required’, providing ​enough support so that pupils can successfully complete tasks that they could not yet do independently’. (Gary Aubin, 2022)

Scaffolding can be provided through a variety of tools and techniques, including a visual, verbal or written scaffold.

Consider the following ways to provide scaffolds for your learners:

  • Reviewing previous learning and check for understanding.
  • Teacher modelling and walk throughs of the process, including thinking aloud.
  • Using worked examples or improving examples as a class.
  • Providing vocabulary scaffolds such as: a word bank, phonics mat or word definitions for technical / subject specific words.
  • Use models such as sentence starters, writing frames, planning models or graphic organisers.
  • Pre-teaching vocabulary, skills or knowledge needed for subsequent lessons.
  • Using talk time such as think-pair-share.
  • Include visual resources including films, animations, and posters.
  • Lists of steps needed.
  • Breaking the learning into smaller steps and providing time to practise each.
  • Make connections to previous learning and real-life examples and connections to the world outside school.
  • Use mind maps and concept maps.
  • Provide live feedback.
  • Encourage pupils to ask questions to check their understanding, clarify knowledge and information.
  • Describe concepts in various ways or reframe explanations.
  • Use analogies.
  • Develop peer support and coaching.
  • Use technology.

Using appropriate scaffolds can work well as a key facet of ​adaptive teaching’. Scaffolds can often be created live, or become embedded within planning, rather than feeling like an ​add-on’. (Gary Aubin, 2022)

    This blog was written by Bretta Townend-Jowitt, Education Consultant and Trainer. 

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