|Center for Advanced Research on Language Acquisition (CARLA)|
Strategy 4: Using Scaffolding Techniques
The notion of “scaffolding” is key to effective CBI. Graves and Graves (1994) suggest that the term “scaffolding” was first used in an educational context by Bruner, who used the term “to characterize mothers' verbal interaction when reading to their young children” (p. 2). Defined by Wood, Bruner, and Ross (1976), scaffolding is “a process that enables a child or novice to solve a problem, carry out a task, or achieve a goal which would be beyond his [or her] unassisted efforts” (p. 90). The link to Vygotsky's (1962) “Zone of Proximal Development” (i.e., the distance or cognitive gap between what a learner can do without assistance and what that learner can do with a more capable peer or skilled adult) should be clear. Scaffolding, then, in a nutshell, means support, but “it is the nature of the support—support that is responsive to the particular demands made on [students] learning through the medium of a second language—that is critical for success” (Gibbons, 2002, pp. 10-11).
Building on ideas presented in Echevarria, Vogt, and Short (2004), Fortune (with input from immersion and world language teachers in a graduate class) categorized scaffolding techniques into three types and identified examples of each:
This list of scaffolding techniques is organized into these three categories.
Several of the teaching strategies we highlight in this instructional
module are examples of scaffolding techniques. For example, the use of graphic
organizers is a scaffolding technique that provides visual support
to learners. We find the use of graphic organizers to be such a powerful
tool in CBI that we have devoted an entire section to it in this module.
Other scaffolding techniques appear in each of the three categories above
here. Many will already be familiar to teachers, and others are described
or links are provided to further define.
Echevarria, J., Vogt, M., & Short, D. (2004). Making content comprehensible for English learners: The SIOP model (2nd ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson Education, Inc.
Fortune, T. (2004). Scaffolding techniques in CBI classrooms. [Online at the CoBaLTT website]
Gibbons, P. (2002). Scaffolding language, scaffolding learning. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann.
Graves, M., & Graves , B. (1994). Scaffolding reading experiences: Designs for student success. Norwood, MA: Christopher-Gordon Publishers, Inc.
Met, M. (2002). Expanding on Think, Pair, Share: An Instructional Framework for Scaffolding Oral Language Use by Integrating Oral and Written Modalities. [Online at the CoBaLTT website]
Vygotsky, L. S. (1962). Thought and language. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Wood, D. J., Bruner, J. S., & Ross, G. (1976). The role of tutoring in problem-solving. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 17(2), 89-100.