Skip to main content
Social Sci LibreTexts

11.5: Methods of instructional scaffolding

  • Page ID
    87529
  • \( \newcommand{\vecs}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}} } \) \( \newcommand{\vecd}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash {#1}}} \)\(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\)

    Lange (2002) states that based on the work of Hogan and Pressley (1997) there are five different methods in instructional scaffolding: modeling of desired behaviors, offering explanations, inviting students to participate, verifying and clarifying student understandings, and inviting students to contribute clues. These techniques are used to direct students toward self-regulation and independence.

    The first step in instructional scaffolding is usually modeling. Lange (2002) cites Hogan and Pressley (1997) as defining modeling as, “teaching behavior that shows how one should feel, think or act within a given situation.” There are three types of modeling. Think-aloud modeling gives auditory substance to the thought processes associated with a task. For example, a teacher might verbalize her thought processes for breaking an unfamiliar word down into its parts so that it can be read.

    Talk-aloud modeling involves verbalizing the thought process or problem-solving strategy while demonstrating the task. An example would be a teacher verbally describing her thought processes as she demonstrates the correct way to subtract two-digit numbers on the board. Lastly, there is performance modeling. Performance modeling requires no verbal instruction. For example, a baseball coach might show one of his players how to get under a ball to catch it (Lange, 2002).

    As well as modeling, the instructor needs to offer explanations. These explanations should openly address the learner’s comprehension about what is being learned, why and when it is used, and how it is used (Lange, 2002). At the beginning, explanations are detailed and comprehensive and repeated often. As the learner progresses in his knowledge, explanations may consist of only key words and prompts to help the learner remember important information.

    For example, when teaching children how to identify adjectives in a sentence, the teacher will need to lead the children through learning the detailed definition of an adjective in the beginning. The instructor may have to repeat or rephrase this thorough explanation many times during guided practice. As the students gain experience, the teacher might just prompt the students with words like “what kind”, “which one” and “how many.”

    Lange (2002) next addresses inviting student participation, especially in the early stages of scaffolding. This technique will heighten student engagement and ownership in the learning process. It will also provide the instructor with an opportunity to emphasize or correct understandings of the task. This leads us to verifying and clarifying student understandings. As students become familiar with new material, it is key for the teacher to evaluate student understanding and provide positive and corrective feedback

    Points to Consider When Implementing Instructional Scaffolding:

    • The scaffolding should be removed gradually and then removed completely when mastery of the task is demonstrated.

    Larkin (2002) suggests that teachers can follow a few effective techniques of scaffolding:

    Begin by boosting confidence. Introduce students first to tasks they can perform with little or no assistance. This will improve self-efficacy. Provide enough assistance to allow students to achieve success quickly. This will help lower frustration levels and ensure that students remain motivated to advance to the next step.

    This will also help guard against students giving up due to repeated failures. Help students “fit in.” Students may actually work harder if they feel as if they resemble their peers. Avoid boredom. Once a skill is learned, don’t overwork it. Look for clues that the learner is mastering the task.


    11.5: Methods of instructional scaffolding is shared under a not declared license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

    • Was this article helpful?