Introduction to Scaffolding and the Lessons of Life
paradigm shift of education and learning, one of the best concepts I have learned in
my second master’s program in education at the University of Missouri, Kansas City is about scaffolding.
Scaffolding is the concept that the teacher
should ask the right questions during the lesson to help encourage discussion among
the participants in partner and group work in which each student must attach
some life experience or idea to the class subject. This cementing personal experience
to current knowledge helps learners to create their own learning versus the
traditional method as the teacher as the sole dispenser of knowledge.
While the Asian learning model is still
traditional, in my private practice, I use both traditional and contemporary
theories in my classrooms and coaching practice.
stands as an excellent teaching tool in any learning environment. First, it allows
personal experience to be a foundational basis for individual learning, which
both includes the learner in the educational process and also validates the
personal experience as being valid and noteworthy.
I recall my first semester back to grad
school after a twenty-year absence from the first graduate degree. I felt like
a fish out of water. The first thing I noticed was how my prior fifteen years
of teaching experience seemed to be of little relevance to the new educational theories
I was learning. However, by the second semester, I found my coursework
requiring me to draw from my personal experience to demonstrate the given
theory we were studying in practice. This soon became my favorite part of any
theory paper or classroom discussion as I had almost a generation of
experiences from my ESL teaching years at Durham Technical Community College,
my international internship in Thailand, and 18 years of private educational practice
as a tutor and consultant. Scaffolding made my new learning environment come
concept is transferable to any learning environment including business,
personal, and spiritual situations.
business, we often coach trying to cram new concepts into a client’s mind. The
fail rate of this way is extremely high because the client has nothing to relate
it to or to scaffold it to because he/she has not been asked the questions that
trigger the cognitive processes that must be undertaken to relate the new
concepts to prior knowledge. It does not happen automatically but must be implemented
through a strategic brain storming session in the form of questions posed and
reflective time to think/medicate about the topic. It is best to write down
what was discovered in the reflective brainstorming and the final step would be
to share it with others present (the coach or co-workers).
personal learning realm, one of the biggest errors people make when they
attempt to do self help books is they just read them and then stop. The correct
way to learn any concept, improve any behavior, or overcome any issue is to
follow these steps: 1) Read/skim a chapter at a time. 2) Go back and highlight
the parts that grab your attention or that you feel are important and write
them down in a journal or notebook hence called your reflective journal.
3) After the highlighting/note taking, write
the words: personal reflection
your notes in your journal. Think about the concept(s) you just read about. Can
you think of an experience you have had that relates to this principle? Can you
remember a lesson learned before related to this? How can you incorporate these
ideas into your life? Why is this concept important, in your opinion?
There is no
limit as to how much you can write. This is all about you, your experiences,
and taking new knowledge and applying it to your life. Through this process,
you will experience a new deep structure kind of learning that will actually
help you to incorporate the new knowledge into your life, change your thinking
or behavior, and prepare you for more insightful learning.
spiritual learning centers regardless of the kind (church, assembly, synagogue
or otherwise), scaffolding can be a game changer.
How many times have you sat through a sermon
and almost fell a sleep? How many times has your mind wondered and you caught
yourself daydreaming or staring off into space?
If so, this spiritual experience is nothing but a charade.
Scaffolding can be also be implemented either
personally or by the spiritual leader to improve the learning. “The
dialectical themes of spiritual dwelling and spiritual seeking are used in the
relational spirituality model to reference ways that others may engage their
spirituality for (a) a sense of grounding, community, commitment, and/or affect
regulation (dwelling) or (b) a sense of exploration of meaning (particularly of
suffering), appreciation for diversity, ways of holding ambiguity and
complexity, and constructing/ reconstructing one’s worldview (seeking). Some
individuals find ways to integrate spiritual dwelling and seeking, whereas
others may be oriented to one of those themes or neither” (Correa &
Sandage, 2018, p. 55). Scaffolding in the spiritual learning environment
connects the individual to the concept, his/her role in spiritual experience,
and the personal greater connection to fellow believers. Remember, this is
cross applicable regardless of the context of the religious belief.
To do it as an individual, try to write down a
sentence every few minutes about what the speaker has said and how it applies
to you or what does it make you think about?
Continue doing this until the end of the session and then spend a few
minutes collecting your thoughts about the overall subject and what it means to
you. You can also introduce a friend to this idea that is there with you and
you can do this process together. Remember, both writing down your thoughts and
then sharing them verbally bring the process of scaffolding to its most
spiritual teacher can best incorporate scaffolding into making the session in
which he or she is speaking into a group workshop structure with attendees
facing each other in small groups around tables. The traditional format with
everyone facing forward is archaic for group learning, sharing, and
The concept here is taking
the spiritual lesson to a deeper level so that it can be a) personalized by the
receiver, b) applied by the receiver, c) remembered by the receiver for future
application and further scaffolding as the lesson come to remembrance as he or
she goes about living their daily life. And isn’t that the main reason for
is an extremely valuable tool. If you are interested in ways this can be
grafted into your classrooms, business, or spiritual environments, feel free to
write me. I would be glad to help you to design a workshop model and written
materials that can be used for any kind of future learning situation.
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Whipple, N. (2010). From external regulation to self-regulation: Early parenting precursors of young children’s
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Conner, D. B., & Cross, D. R.
(2003). Longitudinal analysis of the presence, efficacy and stability of maternal scaffolding
during informal problem-solving interactions. British Journal of Developmental Psychology,
Correa, J., & Sandage, J.
Relational spirituality as scaffolding for cognitive-behavioral therapy. (2018). Spirituality in Clinical Practice. 5 (1), 54 – 63.
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L., & Marshall, N. L. (2006). Determinants of dyadic scaffolding
and cognitive outcomes in first graders. Parenting:
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