What Is Scaffolding?

In the past week, I have talked about scaffolding. This is a term that teachers use, but it’s not exclusive to teaching. People do it everyday without realizing it. To make it clear, think about a scaffold outside a building. It has many levels right?


Scaffolding, and the building of it, is one of the most important parts of the construction process. In construction/building, the building that needs to be built is of the utmost importance. However, the process is also vitally important.

It’s just like regular scaffolding. All the systems have to be in place. You have to slowly build it to ensure that the level underneath it is sturdy. They have to be just right.

When scaffolding a lesson the child needs to know that it’s okay to make mistakes and that everything is a step by step process.

An example of scaffolding that I do is during Open Court lessons. Instead of having them read the lessons (which they can’t do), we listen to the story on the CD. I ask them questions before, during and after. It’s best to stop the CD and ask questions while they are listening to the CD to keep them actively engaged and interested in what’s going on.

For the other part of the lesson (the phonics part), instead of using the words that they’re using, I using simpler words at their level. They get the effect of the lesson, and they also feel really good about themselves.

I do know that since I am a new teacher and am consequently still learning, that I will not do everything just right. I doubt if my lessons ever will be 100% the way that I or anyone want them to be, but that’s what the words keep trying mean.