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Scaffolding on the Spot!

Hello friends, I recently came across a blog that discusses on the spot scaffolding. I would describe this as the immediate moves a teacher makes when she notices students do not understand what is being taught. In essence, the teacher adds a layer of support to help the students grasp important content. You can check out Rebecca Alber's blog here: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/spot-scaffolding-students-rebecca-alber

Rebecca outlines three strategies for providing on the spot scaffolding:

1) Use sentence starters. For example, "One thing I don't understand about [the topic] is _____________________; People disagree about this issue because ______________________, etc. (I'm a  huge fan of sentence starters!)

2) Use an image or a short film clip. (I'm certain many of us have done this. In fact, just today, one of my students pulled up an image on his cell phone to help another student understand.)

3) Give students time to talk with a guiding question. (I am more and more convinced of the importance of talk in the classroom, and it can be especially helpful when students are struggling to understand.)

Rebecca explains that scaffolding such as this is not the same as differentiating instruction. Some of you may want to check out what she means.

How have you used these on the spot scaffolding strategies? What other strategies have been effective for you when it is clear students are not "getting it"?

Cheers, Susan

Moderator, Assessment CoP

 

 

 

Comments

RKenyon's picture
One hundred

Hi Susan,

I am not familiar with this blog as yet, but I will check it out.  I have found that Edutopia has many very interesting resources worthy of review.

Scaffolding is an important technique for teachers working with students that have learning disabilities.  Scaffolding involves "the frequent use of connected questions and collaboratively constructed explanations to create a context for learning that is based on the learner’s prior knowledge." (Keys to Effective LD Practice)   It is a basic tool for an adult educator's tool bag.

Are there any members who can explain in what context scaffolding is used in their adult education class rooms?

Thanks,

Rochelle Kenyon, SME

 

Susan Finn Miller's picture
One hundred

Hi Rochelle, Thanks for your comment. When you get a chance, check out the blogger's idea on how scaffolding and differentiating instruction are related. We'd love to hear your as well as other members' thoughts on this.

Cheers, Susan

Moderator, Assessment CoP

RKenyon's picture
One hundred

Hi Susan,

I did find her blog interesting.  Just to clarify, I would like to use the blogger's words to answer the question:

Scaffolding a lesson and differentiating instruction are two different things. Scaffolding is breaking up the learning into chunks and then providing a tool, or structure, with each chunk. When scaffolding reading, for example, you might preview the text and discuss key vocabulary, or chunk the text and read and stop and discuss as you go. With differentiation, you may give a child an entirely different piece of text to read, you might shorten the text or alter it, and you may modify the writing assignment that follows.

Scaffolding is what you do first with kids, then for those students who are still struggling, you may need to differentiate by modifying an assignment and/or making accommodations for a student (for example, choose more accessible text and/or assign an alternative project.

 

If any of our members have used scaffolding or differentiated instruction with students that have disabilities, please comment on it.

Thanks,

Rochelle Kenyon, SME

Disabilities in Adult Education Group

 

Miriamb3's picture
One hundred

Hi, all.

Susan, thanks for posting these suggestions. Something else I recommend for scaffolding for English language learners is to do the following:

Repetition, Recast, Reformulation, Prompt

Repetition:  The teacher just  repeats exactly what student says; this serves as a confirmation of what the student understands.

For example: Teacher: "Is this an example of a chronic or acute illness?"

Student:  Chronic.

Teacher: Chronic.

Recast: The teacher repeats what the student says, providing needed academic or technical vocabulary

For example:  Student: Chronic mean have for a long time.

Teacher: Yes, chronic means long lasting.

Reformulation: The teacher repeats the student’s utterance but expands and restates it to put it into a fuller and more academic sentence form.

For example: Teacher: What else do you know about chronic illnesses?

Student:  They are medicine to help people with chronic illness.

Teacher:  There are medicines to help people with chronic illnesses control the illnesses.

Prompt: At this point the teacher signals that it’s time to move forward. The teacher signals a need for a student reformulation in a model she has provided.

For example: Teacher: Tell me about the characteristics of chronic illnesses.

Student: Chronic mean have long time. There are medicines or better food and activities for chronic illness.

Teacher: Yes, chronic illnesses are long lasting, but they can be treated with medicine or diet or exercise. What about acute illnesses?

 

As you can  see the student responses are progressively more complex, and the teacher is scaffolding for the student all along the way.

More ideas?

Miriam

SME Adult English Language Learner (ELL) Community of Practice group

 

Susan Finn Miller's picture
One hundred

Miriam, Thanks for sharing these different ways to scaffold and provide feedback and scaffold instruction for English language learners.

How have other members scaffolded instruction specifically for English learners? How about with reading and writing?

Cheers, Susan

Moderator, Assessment CoP

DMellard's picture
One hundred

Hi,

Scaffolding is important to supporting our students' learning.

I was surprised that providing the correct answer was not included as a scaffolding practice. Do you give the answer as part of your scaffolding techniques?

When we give the answer, we can reduce the angst about solving the problem and rather then put an emphasis on why the answer is right. I can imagine that asking for the proof or reasoning (How do you know that the answer is correct?) invites a deeper level of reasoning. "Explain how you got the answer" gives an opportunity for understanding how the student was developing her logic and indicates the depth of understanding. Based on the response, the instructor then knows which lesson objective would be appropriate for the next step (e.g., slicing back in the curriculum, going way back in the curriculum, more practice, or stepping up to the next task or skill in the curricular sequence).

Happy Friday,

Daryl
Moderator, Reading and Writing community
 

Miriamb3's picture
One hundred

Hi, Daryl and all.

"Explain how you got the answer "is a good question to ask students. And it is important, as we all know, in the standards-based- instruction world adult education lives in, for students to be able to orally and in writing point out the textual evidence for their answers.

In response to your question, Daryl, the answer is given as part of scaffolding. In repetition, the teacher repeats the answer, in recast, the teacher first affirms the answer and then restates it in more academic terms and provides additional details. Finally, in reformulation, the teacher also affirms and restates the answer and then pushes the student further by asking an additional, related question.

I like your explanation of how the teacher takes what the student says to plan what she or he needs to do next to help the student(s) progress.

Now it's my turn to say happy Friday.

Miriam

SME, Adult ELL CoP