The teaching of learners, especially in entry and lower levels, requires a teacher to design strategies that will accommodate the diversity of learners’ needs. Some of the learners may have learning deficiencies that need special attention that is more demanding than just completing the syllabus. Scaffolding strategies aid teachers in delivering quality service to learners in terms of understanding concepts as well as establishing appropriate foundations for learner’s subsequent learning activities in next levels. Learning new content, theoretical aspects and unfamiliar language may be challenging for the learners. Scaffolding makes learning easy and enjoyable by the learners through the provision of instructional learning aids that aids in the easy interpretation of concepts as well as idea retention.
Utilized Scaffolding instructional support
As a mathematics and science teacher, I have encountered a number of students with diverse learning needs in my teaching profession. I have always developed a number of scaffolding strategies to ensure that all learner needs are accommodated and learner satisfaction achieved.
Use of Visual Aids
Graphical representation of ideas and concepts by use of charts and pictures has been reported to aid in memory retention and enhanced understanding of concepts. The graphical organizations are specific and help the young learners to have a visual representation of ideas, organize information and have a quick grasp of concepts (Yousuf & Conlan, 2018, p.314). Through the graphical representations, I have guided my learners in how to organize their written information as well as the best way of the sequencing of activities involving mathematical operations.
Similarly, I have used the visual aids in my science lessons in drawing pictures involving body structure of human and animals, parts of a plant as well as simple tools and objects found at home among other drawings. Using the diagrams drawn, I have always developed an interactive lesson by giving the learners an opportunity to illustrate the concept we are learning based on the drawn pictures. Such visual aids do not only made the learners understand the concepts and retain them, but also makes the lessons lively and enjoyable.
Learning of new concepts may be a challenge to a number of learners hence the need to develop strategies that will enhance right methods of teaching such concepts. Process scaffolding emphasizes step by step process of learning in which a teacher gives learners a simplified version of a lesson or topic of concern and then gradually increases in complexity over time in a step by step process (Doabler, Nelson & Clarke, 2016, p.305). I use this method in my mathematical and science lessons both at lower and higher level students.
I break my lessons into a series of mini-lessons that progressively move my learners from simple concepts to complex statement s with the aim of enhanced understanding. For example, I have always broken down challenging algebraic expressions into simple, medium and complex parts to aid in my successful delivery of the concepts. In each mini-lesson, I check to establish whether the students have mastered the idea, gives them time to practice as well as explaining to them in advance how the skills they are learning will help them in solving the complex operations ahead.
One way teaching has a number of limitations towards mastery of content as well as concept retention. It is argued that one lesson should be delivered using more than one method to enhance learner understanding of the subject matter (Basu, Biswas & Kinnebrew, 2017, p.37). The multi-scaffolding method involves the teacher explaining or illustrating a concept in multiple ways to enhance understanding. In my mathematics and science lessons, I have always described an idea orally to learners as well as by use of visual aids that comprise of images and graphics.
Furthermore, while still handling the same subject matter, I ask students to illustrate the concept to the other users through the use of the class board. I also give the learners reading and writing tasks on the subject matter and ask them to articulate the concepts learned in their ways. The strategy has worked in all my lessons as it has enhanced the learners in understanding the concepts taught.
Allowing learners to go through the lesson before teacher intervention is one method that has been reported to aid learners into more understanding of the lesson during the actual lesson time. A number of education stakeholders have argued that this method sends students in muddy path making them be shocked of the complexity of subject matter thus losing interest before the actual lesson takes place (Yazdanpanah & Khanmohammad, 2014, p.2395). This method has however been beneficial in creating readiness and partial understanding of concepts before being taught.
I have used this method in a number of ways in the teaching of learners. Before introducing a new science concept, for example, I ask learners to go and research on some of the complex statements and vocabulary in the topic before handling it. I have also used the same strategy in mathematics in asking learners to go and research on the definition of mathematical concepts such as addition, subtraction, division and multiplication before I officially introduce those particular concepts. This strategy has helped my learners in being prepared in what lies ahead in their lessons as enhancing quick understanding due to their research on the topic.
Give Time to Talk
Leaner to learner education with the guidance of the teacher is vital in enhancing the understanding of learners on a particular concept. This method focuses on giving learners time to process new information taught as well as allowing them to make senses and articulate issues they have learned verbally. Freedom to express what they were instructed not only aids in retention of the information but also improves their confidence to public speaking as well as mastery of language (Doabler, Nelson & Clarke, 2016, p.307). The method also puts great emphasis on teachers allowing learners time to carry out their studies independently to establish the degree of understanding the learners achieve form classes.
I use this method most often when I am handling my learners. I give time the time to carry out their assignments without my intervention. This allowance also gives them an opportunity to consult each other. In so doing, the method has helped the students achieve two significant goals. Firstly, the students have known the areas in which each learner has strength and weakness as well as enhancing teamwork amongst learners, factors that are determinant in learner’s success.
Teaching is a profession that requires a deep understanding of learner needs as well as incorporating the needs into the scaffolding strategies in the achievement of the desired outcome. Scaffolding has played a significant role in enhancing learner understanding of concepts as well as ensuring concept retention, and mastery of the contents taught. Different scaffolding methods are used depending on the needs of the learners as well as the ability of the teachers to utilize them.
Basu, S., Biswas, G., & Kinnebrew, J. S. (2017).Learner modeling for adaptive scaffolding in a computational thinking-based science learning environment. User Modeling and User-Adapted. Interaction, 27(1), 5-53. Doi: 10.1007/s11257-017-9187-0
Doabler, C.T., Nelson, N. J., & Clarke, B. (2016). Adapting evidence-based practices to meet the needs of English learners with mathematics difficulties Teaching Exceptional Children, 48(6), 301-310. Doi: 10.1177/0040059916650638
Yousuf, B., & Conlan, O. (2018). Supporting student engagement through explorable visual narratives. IEEE Transactions on Learning Technologies, 11(3), 307-320: doi:10.1109/TLT.2017.2722416
Yazdanpanah, M., & Khanmohammad, H. (2014). Sociocultural theory and listening comprehension: Does the scaffolding of EFL learners improve their listening comprehension? Theory and Practice in Language Studies, 4(11), 2389. doi:10.4304/tpls.4.11.2389-2395