Science Teaching Series

Internet Resources

I. Developing Scientific Literacy

II. Developing Scientific Reasoning

III. Developing Scientific Understanding

IV. Developing Scientific Problem Solving

V. Developing Scientific Research Skills

VI. Resources for Teaching Science



Images of Scaffolding - Cologne Cathedral 1 | 2 | 3
Association of Science Teacher Educators Convention, Hartford, CT.

Scaffolding (Lindsay Lipscomb, Janet Swanson, and Anne West ; The University of Georgia University of Georgia)

"The term ‘scaffolding’ comes from the works of Wood, Bruner and Ross (1976). The term ‘scaffolding’ was developed as a metaphor to describe the type of assistance offered by a teacher or peer to support learning. In the process of scaffolding, the teacher helps the student master a task or concept that the student is initially unable to grasp independently. The teacher offers assistance with only those skills that are beyond the student’s capability. Of great importance is allowing the student to complete as much of the task as possible, unassisted. The teacher only attempts to help the student with tasks that are just beyond his current capability. Student errors are expected, but, with teacher feedback and prompting, the student is able to achieve the task or goal. When the student takes responsibility for or masters the task, the teacher begins the process of “fading”, or the gradual removal of the scaffolding, which allows the student to work independently. “Scaffolding is actually a bridge used to build upon what students already know to arrive at something they do not know. If scaffolding is properly administered, it will act as an enabler, not as a disabler” (Benson, 1997)."

Wood, D., Bruner, J.S., & Ross, G. (1976). The role of tutoring in problem solving. Journal of Psychology and Psychiatry. 17.

Benson, B. (1997). Scaffolding (Coming to Terms). English Journal, 86(7), 126-127.