Building Learning Power
Scaffolding can have many advantages in helping to support the development of pupil confidence and competence in the classroom. When we consider Vygotsky’s concept of ZPD, it is clear to see how the correct level of support can help learners feel empowered rather than frustrated and overwhelmed. For students who find the task unachievable despite scaffolding, or who perhaps develop competence sooner than their peers, and therefore find the task too easy, differentiation can then be put in place to assist or extend. Whilst putting scaffolding in place is vital, it is just as important that the scaffolding is gradually removed as the learner progresses, allowing them to accomplish the task without assistance . By considering Vygotsky’s work, it is possible to visualise how learners can move between zones. Once they have accomplished the task without scaffolding, their capacities would be in the ZAD and further challenge is then needed to maintain engagement. Failure to remove scaffolding, or leaving it up too long, can lead to learners becoming reliant on the support, or bored and off-task. In contrast, removing the scaffolding too early, or making the task more complex without suitable scaffolding, can lead the learner into the ZDD which may result in frustration and avoidance.
There are many ways that learning can be scaffolded. To support teachers of secondary science, BlueSky is pleased to be launching a new module ‘Scaffolding Secondary Science’. This module has been developed by Dr Rebecca Glass, a former science teacher and now Senior Education Manager at M3. Session one focuses on chunking learning and finding the optimum level of task difficulty, whilst session two focuses on practical scaffolding strategies and examples of how these can be applied in the science classroom. Click here to watch the Taster and learn how you can start to implement these strategies in your classroom today.