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11.3: Characteristics and critical features of scaffolded instruction

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    Lange (2002) states that there are two major steps involved in instructional scaffolding: (1) “development of instructional plans to lead the students from what they already know to a deep understanding of new material,” and (2) “execution of the plans, wherein the instructor provides support to the students at every step of the learning process.”

    In an appropriate scaffolding process, there will be specific identifiable features that are in place to allow facilitation of assisting the learner in internalizing the knowledge until mastery occurs. Applebee and Langer (1983), as cited by Zhao and Orey (1999), identify these five features as:

    • Intentionality: The task has a clear overall purpose driving any separate activity that may contribute to the whole.
    • Appropriateness: Instructional tasks pose problems that can be solved with help but which students could not successfully complete on their own.
    • Structure: Modeling and questioning activities are structured around a model of appropriate approaches to the task and lead to a natural sequence of thought and language.
    • Collaboration:The teacher’s response to student work recasts and expands upon the students’ efforts without rejecting what they have accomplished on their own. The teacher’s primary role is collaborative rather than evaluative.
    • Internalization: External scaffolding for the activity is gradually withdrawn as the patterns are internalized by the students (p. 6).

    Larkin (2002) states, “Scaffolding is one of the principles of effective instruction that enables teachers to accommodate individual student needs.”

    In keeping with this theory, it can be seen that instruction must also be tailored around “contingent instruction”, which is a term identified by Reichgerlt, Shadbolt, Paskiewica, Wood, & Wood (1993) as cited by Zhao and Orey (1999).

    • The teacher or MKO realizes that the amount of instructional support given is dependent upon the outcome of the previous assistance.
    • If a learner is unable to complete a task after an intervention by the MKO, then he or she is immediately given a more specific directive.
    • Equally, if the learner is successful with an intervention, then he or she is given a less explicit directive the next time he or she needs assistance.
    • Next, the instructor or MKO must recognize that the instructional intervention must be specific to the task the learner is currently attempting to complete.
    • Finally, the teacher must keep in the forefront of the process that the student must be given ample time to apply the directive or to try a new move him/herself before additional intervention is supplied.

    11.3: Characteristics and critical features of scaffolded instruction is shared under a not declared license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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