As a teacher, you do not wait for readiness to happen; you foster or ‘scaffold’ it by deepening the child’s powers at the stage where you find him or her now- Jerome Bruner, The culture of Education
Every student has their own individual knowledge and experience and given this fact it is the job of a teacher to support learners in their educational goals by providing them with the tools and motivation they need to take an active role in their own learning process.
Whether the teacher has to teach literature, Science, Mathematics or any other subject, they do have to start somewhere. Here is where an education theory introduced by Jerome Bruner called the ‘instructional scaffolding’ emerge out to be a great method to incorporate it into the lessons to give students step-by-step goals and eventually lead students to take complete control of their own learning experience.
Every teacher aims for an engaging classroom but the sad part of it is that due to their lack in coming up with a strategic approach to spark student engagement, the aim does not come to fruition.
We have collated some strategies for you to integrate into your classroom, witness greater student independence in the learning process and to support them in achieving a better understanding.
1. Illustrate your Distinct Process or Be an Example
Remember when you are in the class, you are not just their instructor but their role model as well. And you know it very well that- kids learn most of the things visually similar to what adults do.
Start off by showing your students how you take varied approaches to solve a certain problem at hand. Say if the goal is to write a persuasive essay, walk them through the steps you would take, or may be just create a presentation to show them the right method to research on a certain topic, outline and write the essay. Giving students detailed, visual instructions will allow them to visualize how a process works right from the start to the finish. And by doing it, remember, your students will be able to integrate some parts of the process into their own method.
2. Analyse your Students’ Previous Knowledge and Experience
You can always begin your lessons by letting your students’ share their experiences related to the material that you have been teaching so far. Ask them if they have used their learning to solve something earlier. Get to know it from the students as they share their experiences and views. Thereafter, you can also explain the students the importance of the content so that they understand how they can apply it in their everyday world.
Applying this strategy can turn out to be really beneficial because you will find students get actively interested in the lesson as they know they will have something to share or add to the discussion. More importantly, it will open up an avenue for you to build the future lesson on by understanding the valuable feedbacks of the student. You will get a chance to create lessons keeping in mind the likes and dislikes of the students and also based on the knowledge as to how much your students know on the content that you are about to teach in the class.
3. Ensure you Provide Feedback to your Students throughout the Lesson
One of the most important parts of scaffolding is giving effective feedback not only at the end but during the process of learning. In order, to assess student understanding throughout the lesson, you have to be sure to take pauses and ask them where their understanding stands and this assessment is to be done in short phases and not at once.
You could introduce any new concept through video, pictorial presentation or by reading the lesson, give them some time to think and then ask strategic free-text questions to gain feedback on their understanding. Having all the students answer the questions will help you get valuable feedback on where the class stands as a whole.
For the ease of conducting formative assessment, you can consider using digital tools and apps that support such type of assessment approaches.
4. Work on Designing Lesson which Allow Students to Work collectively
You have to give time to your students to process any new idea, information and allow them to talk on it with other students to make sense of and articulate what they’ve learned. This process also fosters a community feeling within the classroom and it does allow your students to take control of their own learning process.
A fantastic way to initiate group work into the classroom is by splitting the students up based on the feedback that you have gained from the free-text assessment. And once you find a grip over how much the class as a whole understands about the content, it will not be difficult for you to apply differentiated instruction or split the class into groups based on their understanding of the material and creating questions that are specific to their level of understanding. Some formative assessments tools contain the features that support for group work and this should help you to implement differentiated instruction in your classroom.
We hope through these strategies you will be able to have greater student independence.