esson should nearly scream with efficiency. Teachers and students should shake their heads in disbelief.
8) Scaffolding creates momentum
In contrast to traditional research experiences, throughout which much of the energy was dispersed and dissipated during the wandering phases, the channeling achieved through scaffolding concentrates and directs energy in ways that actually build into momentum. It is almost like an avalanche of thoughts, accumulating insight and understanding.
2.11. Concepts Embedded in Scaffolding
Hu (2006) believes that two concepts are embedded in the metaphor of scaffolding: intersubjectivity and fading.
Hu, (2006) maintain that ”according to Vygotsky, learning is based on sharing of cultural knowledge and is a process that individual enters a culture via the introduction and guidance of more capable members. For scaffolding to occur, the dyad has to reach intersubjectivity through interaction” (p. 64).
Intersubjectivity refers to “the shared understanding of the task objectives, its procedure, and conditions of participation as well as shared responsibility and shared effort between the two individuals who work together on a task (Driscoll, 2000, cited in Hu, 2006, p.64).
Without shared understanding of a task, each partner’s responsibility, and their shared efforts, learners may not understand the importance of the task and why they should accomplish it. As a result, they may not engage in learning (Hu, 2006).
During scaffolding, as learners become more competent, scaffolding should be gradually removed and learners should take over more responsibilities. This process is fading. Fading allows learners gradually take over more responsibility and gives them chances to increasingly regulate their own learning, which helps them become more self-regulated (Hu, 2006).
Miller (2005) believes that “As children gradually internalize or appropriate the performance of the more competent adult and the interaction between the child and the adult, self-scaffolding may lie at the boundary between self and other. That is, self-scaffolding may be a halfway station as the intermental becomes interamental” (p.210).
There appear to be two particularly appealing features of self-scaffolding. One is that temporary self-scaffolding can provide a window on the transitional phase when the child actively incorporate skills previously used only with the support of others. Self-scaffolding may show exactly what children have to do to make internalization happen. The other is that permanent forms of self-scaffolding add a tool to the child’s toolbox for solving novel problems (Miller, 2005).
2.13. Contexts of Scaffolding
So far we have discussed the ZPD and scaffolding from the perspective of a more knowledgeable person (a teacher or parent) interacting with a less knowledgeable person (a student or child). However in the work of several researchers (Donato, 1994; Gibbons, 2002; Mercer, 1995; Rogoff, 1995; cited in Walqui, 2006), the idea of scaffolding has been expanded to include not only an expert-novice relationship, but also a relationship of equal knowledge, such as in a group of learners working on a shared task.
Such scaffolding can be called ‘collective scaffolding’ (Donato, 1994; Moll, 1990), and researchers have shown that students working in groups can produce results that none of them would have been capable of producing on their own. In such circumstances learners create zone of proximal development of each other and engage in mutual scaffolding (cf, Walquil, 2006).
In addition to the expert-novice context and the collective scaffolding context, Van Lier (2004) suggests two further contexts in which students can work within their ZPD. They can work with someone who is at a lower level of understanding, and the need to teach the other person is an opportunity to verbalize, clarify and extend their own knowledge of the subject matter. Finally, they can draw on their own resources- the models remembered from their teachers and peers and other resources in their environment- to supplement the shortcomings of their own knowledge and skills.
Thus, the student has available at least the following four sources of scaffolding:
1) Being assisted by an expert, when the learner receives guidance, advice and modeling;
2) Collaborating with other learners, when learning is constructed together;
3) Assisting a lower-level learner, when both have opportunities to learn;
4) Working alone, when internalized practices and strategies, inner speech, inner resources and experimentation are used.
In all four participation contexts, the learner has opportunities to learn, but of different kinds.
The following model shows these four potential contexts of learning as aspects of an expanded ZPD. (cf, Walquil, 2006)
Figure Expanded ZPD (by Van Lier, 2004, cited in Walquil ,2006)
2.14. Successful vs. Inefficient of Scaffolding
According to Granott (2005) “Operationally, successful scaffolding can be defined as an increase in the scaffoldee’s (child/novice) independent activity level following the scaffolder’s (adult/expert) scaffolding”. Successful scaffolding shows the following attributes:
Correspondence between variabilities in the scaffoldee’s and scaffolder’s activities-scaffolders continuously calibrate the scaffoldees’ ZPD by lowering their input level if the scaffoldees have not increased theirs and holding or increasing their input level when the scaffoldees have also increased their levels.
Scaffolders’ input is at equal or higher levels than the levels in scaffoldees’ immediately preceding activity. Input at levels lower than the scaffoldees’ preceding activity does not serve a scaffolding function.
As a result of the previous two conditions, scaffolding shows vertical variability; the scaffolder’s activity forms a band, or activity zone, that corresponds to that of the scaffoldee but is shifted upward.
Horizontal variability: when scaffoldees do not respond to scaffolders’ input, the scaffolders may try to engage them in new ways or with new activities, shifting strategies or changing the activity content. Alternatively, when scaffoldees’ interest decreases and they detach from the activity, scaffolders may correspondingly stop or change the activity and then attempt to trigger a new interest or start a new activity.
Conversely, the opposite attributes characterize unsuccessful scaffolding, which is ineffective in raising the scaffoldee’s independent activity levels. During unsuccessful scaffolding, the scaffolder’s input is not related to the scaffoldee’s current (or preceding) level. It may appear to be on levels lower than those of the scaffoldee. The scaffolder’s input does not follow the scaffoldee’s breaks in interest and engagement. Either partner or both do not seem to enjoy the process (Granott, 2005).
2.15. Macro and Micro Focuses on Tasks in Scaffolding
According to Hammond and Gibbons (2001) in addition to a focus on learners and their current levels of understanding, scaffolding requires a clear focus on tasks. It therefore requires that teachers have a good understanding of:
* The curriculum area or field of inquiry that their learners are engaging with
* The demands of specific tasks that will enable learners to achieve relevant goals
That is, to be effective, scaffolding requires clearly articulated goals and learning activities which are structured in ways that enable learners to extend their existing levels of understanding. For this to occur, the goals for any one specific task need to be located within the broader framework of a planned program with its own clearly articulated goals. Thus the learning that occur as a result of support at a micro level of interaction (at a task level) needs to be located within the macro framework of a planned program, so that there
is a clear relationship between sequential tasks and so that these tasks relate to articulated program and curriculum goals.(Hammond and Gibbons, 2001).
2.16. Scaffolding and Good Teaching
Considering the relationship between scaffolding and good teaching, Maybin, et.,al (1992) write ‘Scaffolding is clearly a form of help’….It is not just any assistance which might help a learner accomplish a task. It is help which will enable learners to accomplish a task which they would not have been quite able to manage on their own, and it is help which is intended to bring learners closer to a state of competence which will enable them eventually to complete such a task on their own” (p.188).
Mercer (1994) proposes the following criteria for distinguishing scaffolding from other kinds of teaching and learning:
Students could not succeed without the teacher’s intervention.
The teacher aims for some new level of independent competence on the students’ part.
The teacher has the learning of some specific skill or concept in mind.
There must be evidence of students successfully completing the particular task at hand.
There must also be evidence that learners are now able to go on to deal independently with subsequent related tasks or problems.
2.17. Effective Scaffolded Instruction
Hogan and Pressley (1997, cited in Larkin, 2001) listed eight essential elements of scaffolded instruction. They believe that teachers need use them as general guidelines for dynamic, flexible scaffolding. These elements are:
Pre-engagement with the Learner and Curriculum. During pre-engagement, the teacher considers curriculum goals and student needs to select an appropriate task.
Establishing a Shared Goal. Motivating students toward establishing a shared goal is providing a delicate balance between allowing the student to lead and following the traditional path of teacher-directed instruction.
Actively Diagnosing the Understandings and Needs of the Learners. The teacher must be sensitive to the learner and be knowledgeable of content matter to compare student performance to external standards or growth.
Providing Tailored Assistance. Assistance could take the form of cueing or prompting, questioning, modeling, telling, or discussing.
Maintaining Pursuit of the Goal. Students who have been immersed in the “failure cycle” may have trouble maintaining pursuit of the goal. Particularly for complicated tasks, teachers may need to provide more support for students to be persistent and focused.
Giving Feedback. The teacher who uses scaffolding summarizes student progress and highlights behaviors that lead to success in anticipation that students eventually will self-monitor their own learning.
Controlling for Frustration and Risk. The teacher needs to create an environment in which students are free to try alternatives without being penalized and in which mistakes are considered part of learning.
Assisting Internalization, Independence, and Generalization to Other Contexts. This means helping students to become less dependent on the teacher’s extrinsic signals for what to do next and providing students with the opportunity to practice the skills in different contexts.
2.18. Guidelines for Effective Scaffolding
Larkin (2001) lists following guidelines for effective scaffolding:
Identify what students know.
Begin with what students can do.
Help students achieve success quickly.
Help students to “be” like everyone else. Miller and Fritz (1998, cited in Larkin, 2001) suggest that as much as possible, teachers orient classroom tasks for students’ work to be perceived as being like that of their peers.
Know when it’s time to stop.
Help students to be independent when they have command of the activity. Effective scaffolding means that teachers need to listen and watch for clues from their students as to when teacher assistance is or is not needed. Obviously, teachers do not want students to fail, but they should not