• Maria Zaheer

Scaffolding: How does it work in teaching? [Part 2]


Keeping in view the example of building construction where the construction crew scaffolds to help support them and their materials and gradually removes these supports on completion of each section stepwise. In the same way, scaffolding in learning supports learners in establishing new concepts where teachers model or demonstrate how to solve a problem, and then step back, offering support as needed.


The model of instructional scaffolding is also sometimes described as “I do. We do. You do.”

• I do — the teacher shows how something is done, starts with direct instruction, and frequently checks in on learners’ understanding.

• We do — the class practices together in small groups or as individual learners to discuss the lesson and complete activities like graphic organizers and hands-on practice.

• You do — as learners internalize information and show signs of understanding, they can participate in small group instruction and complete practice work independently. Scaffolding in the classroom


Here are a few scaffolding strategies that can be implemented in classroom instruction.

  • Utilize learners’ prior knowledge

Learners are not blank slates instead they bring varied social, cultural, and linguistic knowledge owing to their respective backgrounds. Tapping into learners’ prior knowledge provides future direction for the lesson by giving the idea of how much is known and what to achieve.

  • Show and tell

It is commonly observed that learning is facilitated if it is demonstrated despite telling about it. Modeling a lesson or showing learners the outcome or product before they do it helps learners to grasp new ideas effectively.

  • Repetition is the key

Repetition helps reinforce the new concept at different entry points during the lesson in developing a better understanding. Repeat the ideas as long as it is understood by the learners.

  • Keep in check learners’ understanding

Checking learners’ understanding helps develop teachers’ insight into learners’ needs and prompts teachers to adapt and choose an appropriate instructional strategy at the right time.

  • Give talk time

Processing time is required for understanding new ideas and information. Learners also need time to verbally make sense of what they are learning and articulate it with the community whom with they are engaged in their learning expeditions.

  • Pre-teach Vocabulary

Language learners often lack vocabulary specifically keywords for the required lesson. Pre-teaching vocabulary prepares learners with the required vocabulary essential for comprehending the lesson instead of leaving them unaided struggling with unfamiliar words and text.

  • Bring in the technology

In this digital world integrating technology in class instructions empower teachers to become more resourceful by utilizing videos, lectures, podcast, educational games, etc, also equipping learners with the understanding of technology along with enabling them to stay connected with the global world.


Scaffolding helps bridge the learning gap with assistance and guidance and provides opportunities for learners to be successful before landing in an unfamiliar learning region. It fosters learning through learners’ engagement in the learning process constantly building on prior knowledge and forming associations between new information and concepts. It also provides a concrete support system for learning to each learner by breaking learning up into chunks. In addition, this type of instruction minimizes failure, which decreases anxiety and frustration, addresses diverse learners’ needs, and empowers both teachers and learners for smooth sailing of the teaching-learning process.

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