Oct 13 / Rachel Doyle

What is Scaffolding in Education?

What is Scaffolding as a strategy in education?

The term ‘Scaffolding Learning’ is borrowed from the construction industry, where a temporary structure is used to support workers as they build a permanent structure. Similarly, in education, scaffolding involves providing support to learners until they can independently grasp and apply new concepts or skills.

The concept of scaffolding in learning and teaching was first coined by Vygotsky in 1978 in his investigations of child learning and pedagogy. Vygotsky emphasized the importance of social interaction and collaboration in the learning process. According to Vygotsky learners benefit from the guidance of a more knowledgeable person, such as a teacher.

During scaffolding students are supported to make connections for themselves as they work through the subject. Support is then gradually withdrawn as learners become more capable and self-reliant.  
Prospero Learning Blog - What is Scaffolding in Education - 2 students working at a desk in a science class

Key features of scaffolding learning include: 

There are several key features of scaffolding learning, these are:


Temporary Support

Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD)

Social Interaction

Why is using Scaffolding important?

Scaffolding learning is important because it creates an environment where students are encouraged to be more independent in their learning, and to not constantly look to the teacher or teaching assistant for answers and instruction. 
By encouraging students to take responsibility for their learning, you create more resilient, independent students who will be able to apply this in all areas of their learning.      
Prospero Learning Blog - What is Scaffolding in Education - Female teaching staff member helping an early years female student with an iPad
It's important that school staff know how best to scaffold learning for students, there are several different ways to do so all with varying levels of support.

Our course ‘Using Scaffolding to Promote Learner Independence’ will give you more in-depth knowledge about different scaffolding techniques.

Using Scaffolding to Promote Learner Independence - for Teachers

Using Scaffolding to Promote Learner Independence - for Teaching Assistants 
These courses provides key knowledge and deep-learning on the key features of Scaffolding, as well and the different methods you can use to ensure you are giving the right level of support to the students you work with.