What Are Scaffolds in Education?

A scaffold is a temporary structure used to support a working platform or provide access to an elevated work area. In education, scaffolds are used to support students as they learn new information or complete a task.

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What are scaffolds?

Scaffolds are temporary structures that provide support during the construction of a new building. They are also used in education to provide support for students as they learn new information.

Scaffolds can take many different forms, but they all have one purpose: to help students reach a higher level of understanding. Scaffolds can be physical objects, such as a model of the solar system, or they can be more abstract, such as a graphic organizer.

Scaffolds are often used in conjunction with other instructional strategies, such as inquiry-based learning or differentiated instruction. When used correctly, scaffolds can help all students succeed in the classroom.

The benefits of scaffolds in education

Scaffolds in education provide temporary support for learners as they strive to achieve a certain goal. By scaffolding learning experiences, educators can provide just enough support to ensure that learners can successfully complete a task without becoming overwhelmed. In this article, we’ll discuss the benefits of scaffolds in education.

Improved learning outcomes

There is a growing body of evidence that suggests scaffolded instruction can lead to improved learning outcomes. In one study, students who received scaffolded instruction on a expository text performed better on a post-reading assessment than students who did not receive scaffolding. The researchers attributed the improved performance to the fact that the scaffolded students had more opportunities to practice using the target language within a supportive environment.

Other studies have shown that scaffolded instruction can help students master content more quickly and retain information for longer periods of time. In one study, students who were taught with scaffolds spent less time reviewing for tests than students who were taught without scaffolds. The researchers attributed this to the fact that the scaffolded instruction allowed for more focused and targeted practice.

Increased motivation and engagement

When used correctly, scaffolds can help turn knowledge acquisition into a game by providing just the right level of challenge. This can lead to increased motivation and engagement, two key components of academic success. Scaffolds also encourage collaboration as students work together to problem-solve. And, because scaffolds are often removed once a task is learned, they provide students with a sense of accomplishment andadaself-efficacy.

Greater independence and responsibility

One of the main benefits of scaffolds in education is that they help students to develop a greater sense of independence and responsibility. This is because scaffolds provide support and structure to learning, which means that students can more easily see the connection between what they are doing and the desired outcome. Additionally, scaffolds help to ensure that students are engaged in active learning, rather than simply listening or watching passively.

Another significant benefit of scaffolds is that they can promote higher-level thinking skills. For example, when students are given a problem to solve that is supported by a scaffold, they must think critically about the best way to approach the problem. This type of deepthinking promotes creativity and imagination, as well as logical reasoning skills.

Finally, scaffolds can also help students who are struggling with a particular concept or task. By providing support and structure, scaffolds can make it easier for these students to understand complex ideas and complete challenging tasks. Ultimately, this can lead to increased confidence and motivation levels, as well as improved academic performance.

The challenges of scaffolds in education

Despite the many advantages of scaffolds in education, there are also some challenges that come along with them. One challenge is that scaffolds can often be too simplistic, providing students with only the bare minimum of information that they need to complete a task. This can lead to students not truly understanding the material and not being able to apply it in the real world. Another challenge is that scaffolds can often be inflexible, meaning that they can’t be easily adapted to meet the needs of all students.

Limited time and resources

When scaffolding is used well, it can be an effective way to support students in their learning. However, there are some challenges that can arise when using scaffolds in the classroom.

One of the main challenges is that scaffolds can take a lot of time and effort to create. Teachers need to be very clear about what the learning goals are and what students need to do to reach those goals. They also need to be prepared to adjust the scaffolds as needed based on how students are responding.

Another challenge is that scaffolds can sometimes give students too much support. This can lead to students becoming too reliant on the scaffolds and not developing their own independent learning strategies.

Finally, scaffolds can also be challenging for teachers due to the amount of planning and preparation required. When done well, however, scaffolding can be a very effective way to support student learning.

Lack of teacher training

While scaffolds are a widely used instructional strategy, there is still a lack of teacher training on how to effectively use scaffolds in the classroom. This can lead to scaffolds being used in a way that does not support student learning, or worse, students being over-reliant on scaffolds and not developing the independence they need to be successful learners.

How to effectively use scaffolds in education

A scaffold is temporary support used to prop up a structure while it is being built. In education, scaffolds are instructional techniques that are used to support students in the learning process. Scaffolds provide support for students so they can better understand a concept or complete a task. When used effectively, scaffolds can help students learn independently and become more successful in school.

Planning and preparation

When scaffolding is done well, it is barely noticeable to students. They are so engrossed in their learning that they do not realize the level of support that they are receiving. Good scaffolding anticipates the needs of individual students and provides just enough support to allow them to move on to the next level of learning.

Some factors to consider when planning and preparing to use scaffolds effectively in your classroom include:
-The needs of your students: What prior knowledge do they have? What do they need to be able to do?
-The task: What is the final goal? How can it be broken down into smaller tasks?
-The level of support: How much support will each student need? How can you provide that support without taking away from the learning experience?


Scaffolds in education are supports that teachers can provide to students to help them better engage with and understand classroom material. Scaffolds can be temporary or permanently in place, depending on the needs of the student. Common scaffolds include things like graphic organizers, sentence starters, and model answers.

Scaffolds are an important part of the learning process, especially for struggling students or those with learning disabilities. By providing students with scaffolds, teachers can ensure that all students have an opportunity to engage with classroom content and learn at their own pace.

There are a few key things to keep in mind when using scaffolds in the classroom:

– Make sure the scaffold is appropriate for the task at hand. It should be neither too difficult nor too easy.
– Provide support as needed, but allow students to work independently as much as possible.
– Be sure to remove the scaffold when it is no longer needed.


To evaluate the effectiveness of scaffolds in education, it is important to consider how they are being used and in what context. Scaffolds should be designed to support the learning goals and objectives of the curriculum, and they should be implemented in a way that is consistent with research-based instructional practices.

When used effectively, scaffolds can help all students learn effectively by providing support that is tailored to their individual needs. However, scaffolds must be used appropriately in order for them to be effective. For example, if scaffolds are not removed when they are no longer needed, students may come to rely on them too much and may have difficulty functioning without them. In addition, scaffolds that are not well designed or that are not used consistently can actually hinder learning rather than support it.

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