Spotlight on Strategies
By: Kailee Fowler
Scaffolding and working in cooperative learning groups in each student’s zone of proximal development is one strategy that Vygotsky has to students who struggle with difficult concepts (Slavin, 2014). "Scaffolding refers to a variety of instructional techniques used to move students progressively toward stronger understanding and, ultimately, greater independence in the learning process" (Slavin, 2014).The zone of proximal development is the “distance between the actual developmental level as determined by independent problem solving and the level of potential development as determined through problem solving under adult guidance or in collaboration with more capable peers" (Frederick, Courtney, & Caniglia, 2014). One study consisting of 50 middle school students found that if students are struggling with problem solving, “students can improve their problem solving skill with an increased focus on conceptual knowledge” (Frederick, Courtney, & Caniglia, 2014). This study gave support to Vygotsky’s theories as the results showed that scaffolding using peer grouping, graphic organizers, and reflections helped students improve their problem solving skills (Frederick, Courtney, & Caniglia, 2014).
Students can develop cognitively using Vygotsky's ideas of mediation and scaffolding within their zone of proximal development as teachers probe and model strategies in whole group, small group, and individual practices. Using Vygotsky’s ideas of cooperative learning and reciprocal teaching, small learning groups can foster group talk and questions so that each student can discuss and learn from each other (Slavin, 2014). Thinking strategies can be assessed and modified in school and online through Pearson Education and Envision Math as students are assigned materials at their own pace. Strategies used to promote a self-regulated learner are; tutoring by competent peers, providing hints and prompts throughout instruction, scaffolding as the student becomes the teacher and the teacher becomes the facilitator, and providing many cooperative learning activities for students to work with others who may have a better understanding of the concepts (Slavin, 2014). All students should move from mediation to self-regulation as they learn and develop a sense for understanding. With encouragement, mediation, scaffolding, and prompting, students should gradually become individual learners (Slavin, 2014).
Scaffolding in My Classroom
Scaffolding in Your Classroom
(found on YouTube)
(found on YouTube)
Frederick, M., Courtney, S., and Caniglia, J. (2014). With a little help from my friends: scaffolding techniques in problem solving. Investigations in Mathematics Learning, 7, pp 21-32.
Pearson Education Inc. (2015). Envision math and reading curriculum. Retrieved from: https://www.pearsonsuccessnet.com/snpapp/login/PsnLandingPage.jsp?showLandingPage=true.
Slavin, R. E. (2014). Educational Psychology: Theory and Practice (11th ed.). Boston, MA: Pearson.