Scaffolding as teaching technique

Vygotsky suggests that learning at the social level precedes learning at an individual level, which highlights the importance of participation by the society in the learning process. The concept thrives to illustrate the role of that adults can engage in to assist their children in the learning process by participating jointly in problem-solving activities. As such, both parties are capable of establishing effective communication during the activities and the student gains understanding through a mutual perspective. Although there has been no consensus with regard to the definition of scaffolding, clear-cut characteristics exist among the numerous definitions. One such characteristic is contingency, which illustrates the adjusted and well-calibrated support accorded to the learner. The support accorded is usually oriented to accommodate the level of the student and his/her performance. As such, for offered support to be effective, the level of competence of the student must be defined and the support accorded is at the same or slightly higher level. Another common characteristic entails the gradual withdrawal of the afforded support, a concept referred to as fading. The amount of support given is reduced with time based on the response of the student in terms of development and level of competence. As the amount of time decreases responsibility for the indicated tasks is transferred to the student as he/she increases in cognitive capacity. Summary of Research Studies indicate that scaffolding strategies provide individualised instructions to students who would otherwise be lost in the learning process. This allows instructors to observe students and establish a tailored approach on the student, pushing him/her towards success. The differentiated instructions ensures that the student receives information and direction in accordance to his/her level of competence, which works to foster better understanding of concepts. Moreover, scaffolding techniques improve the acquisition of skill and knowledge owing to the support provided. This is facilitated by the opportunity to offer differentiated and individualised instructions through other students who have higher level of understanding. As such, guidance offered ensures that the learner is accommodated to build his confidence and joy in learning. This ensures that the learner does not feel left out or incompetent despite his/her learning challenges, which would increase the learner’s frustration levels. Similarly, studies illustrate the role of scaffold strategies in triggering independence among students through encouragement (Stone, 1998). It has been indicated that scaffolding engages and motivates the learner who in turn use their past knowledge to grasp new concepts. In this regard, scaffold strategies ensure that learners are not passive but active in the learning process, which goes a long way in boosting confidence levels. However, some critics argue that the scaffolding metaphor is based on task completion and cannot be effective in the learning process (Biemiller and Meichenbaum, 1998). The studies cite poor communication skills between the instructor and the learner and suggest that the learners cannot fully internalise concepts based on temporary support. In addition, measurement of scaffolding has been identified as a challenge since there are no