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In construction, scaffolding is a temporary structure used to support people and materials when a building is under construction.  The key word in that sentence is “temporary.”

The goal of scaffolding is to eventually make itself unnecessary.

Does scaffolding in your classroom have the same goal?  

Take a moment to evaluate your practice with the 5 Criteria of Effective Scaffolding developed by Applebee:

1. Student ownership of the learning event.

The instructional task must allow students to make their own contributions to the activity as it evolves.

2.  Appropriateness of the instructional task.

The task should build upon the knowledge and skills the students already possesses, but should be difficult enough to allow new learning to occur.

3.  A structure learning environment

This will provide a natural sequence of thought and language, thus presenting the student with useful strategies and approaches to the task.

4. Shared Responsibility

Tasks are solved jointly in the course of instructional interaction, so the role of the teachers is more collaborative than evaluative.

5. Transfer of Control

As students internalize new procedures and routines, they should take a greater responsibility for controlling the progress of the task.


*adapted from Oxford Journals