Activities and Discussion
(45 minutes) | Homework
Instructional Sequence and “Scaffolding”
Part I. Read and discuss the following two descriptions of scaffolding. (10 minutes)
Scaffolding is an instructional strategy where a more knowledgeable person provides scaffolds or supports to facilitate students' development as they build on prior knowledge and internalize new information. Scaffolds are temporary structures that physically support workers while they complete jobs that would otherwise be impossible. Scaffolds provide workers with both a place to work and the means to reach work areas that they could not access on their own. Instructional scaffolding is a teaching strategy that was cleverly named for the practical resemblance it bears to the physical scaffolds used on construction sites. The strategy consists of teaching new skills by engaging students collaboratively in tasks that would be too difficult for them to complete on their own. The instructor initially provides extensive instructional support, or scaffolding, to continually assist the students in building their understanding of new content and process. Once the students internalize the content and/or process, they assume full responsibility for controlling the progress of a given task. The temporary scaffolding provided by the instructor is removed to reveal the impressive permanent structure of student understanding.
Reprinted by permission from H. L. Herber, J. N. Herber, Teaching in Content Areas with Reading, Writing, and Reasoning. Published by Allyn and Bacon, Boston, MA. Copyright ©1993 by Pearson Education.
Some teachers favor an apprenticeship model of scaffolding, where an expert models an activity, provides advice and examples, guides the student in practice, and then tapers off support until the student can do the task alone. Others prefer methods that encourage ongoing consultation with other people, since in life few people ever work exclusively on their own.
From “Scaffolding as a Teaching Strategy” by Linda J. Lawson.
Used with permission.
After you have read the passages above, discuss the following questions:
- How do these two descriptions of scaffolding compare to your own
understanding and use of the term?
- As a group, try to agree on a working definition of scaffolding.
Part II. Identify examples of scaffolding used by teachers in
Program 2. (15 minutes)
For each of the teaching segments in the program, brainstorm examples of scaffolding that you saw:
- Dance Senior Choreography Project
- Theatre Stagecraft and Design
- Visual Art City Silhouettes/Still Life
- Music Beginner Men's Ensemble/Angelaires
Part III. Identify scaffolding that you currently do, or might consider. (20 minutes)
How do you sequence instruction? What sort of scaffolding techniques do you use? Do you provide students with the same level of support at all stages? Or do you strive to withdraw supports over time, allowing students more opportunities for creative autonomy?
Use the Instructional Sequence Worksheet (PDF) to sketch a teaching sequence you do, and analyze the scaffolding and student autonomy it involves.
Afterwards, share with the group your instructional sequences and the ratings you gave the different steps.
As a group, discuss these questions:
- If the overall goal is student autonomy, what is the relationship between the scaffolding a teacher provides and the creative autonomy students have?
- What strategies can we use to increase the likelihood that students are making creative choices as artists?
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