Creating Effective Professional Learning Communities

Breaking down the information into smaller components and putting them into a tangible structure might help each learner feel more supported.

Is there anything that is the polar opposite of scaffolding? Students are instructed to read a nine-page science article and write an essay on the topic that they have learned about. They have till Wednesday to turn it in. Yikes! They are on their own, with no safety net or parachute to fall back on.

Let’s agree that structuring a lesson is not the same as differentiating instruction in a classroom setting. Scaffolding is the process of breaking down a large amount of information into smaller chunks and providing each fragment with a framework or tool. A preview of the text, discussion of essential terminology, or chunking of the text that you then read and remark on as you go are all examples of scaffolding reading strategies. You might assign a new piece of material to your child, shorten or amend it, or change the writing assignment entirely if you feel it is necessary.

To put it another way, scaffolding is the very first thing you do when working with youngsters. Students who are struggling may require differentiation through the modification of an assignment, making alterations such as selecting a text that is more accessible, or assigning a project with fewer requirements, among other things.

Scaffolding and differentiation, on the other hand, have something in common. Understanding the individual and collective zones of proximal development (ZPD) of your learners is essential for meeting them where they are and scaffolding or differentiating education effectively for them to succeed. Eileen Raymond, a teacher, and researcher in education explains that the ZPD is the distance between the learning that children can do on their own and the learning that they can acquire with the support of a qualified professional.

Let’s take a look at several scaffolding tactics that you may not have encountered before. Perhaps you haven’t used them in a while and would like to be reminded of how beneficial and amazing they are for student learning in your classroom.


Many of us assume that seeing something rather than hearing it is the most effective way to learn something. Scaffolding for students, in my opinion, begins with modeling for the pupils. Is it possible that you’ve interrupted someone and said, “Just show me!” when they were attempting to explain something you didn’t understand? Students should be shown or demonstrated what you expect them to do at every opportunity that you have.

You might want to attempt a fishbowl activity, in which a small group of students is encircled by the remainder of the class. The group in the middle (also known as the fishbowl) participates in an activity and serves as an example for larger groups on how to accomplish it.
Always show them the finished product or the desired outcome before they begin. When a teacher assigns persuasive essays or inquiry-based science projects, he or she should always offer a model and a rubric side-by-side to the students. You may assist students through each stage of the process if you have a model of the finished product in your possession.
During reading, problem-solving, or project creation, use think aloud to help you model your thought process and improve your communication skills. Children’s cognitive abilities and critical thinking skills are still in the early stages of development, according to experts.


Inviting students to contribute their personal experiences, thoughts, and opinions regarding the topic or issue they are studying is a good way to get them thinking. Encourage them to relate it to their own experiences. Some recommendations and tips may be required to assist them in making connections, but once they have made the necessary connections they will be able to absorb the subject on their own.

The knowledge of your students can be used to launch the learning in your classroom, which is not only a smart scaffolding approach but also a good way to launch the learning in your classroom.


Every learner requires a period to assimilate new concepts. These individuals must convey their learning and make sense of it to others who are also traveling along the same path as they are. Structured dialogues with children, regardless of their age or maturity level, are effective and beneficial.

It is recommended that you employ this method regularly if you do not incorporate structured talking time such as think-pair-share, turn-and-talk, triad groups, or other activities into your lesson.


This method is referred to as “front-loading vocabulary” in some circles. It is not utilized to its full potential by teachers. Many teachers, including myself, have made the mistake of sending students on their own down the difficult and bumpy road known as Challenging Text work. On this journey, there is a lot of challenging jargon. They are frequently unprepared for the task and are therefore taken by surprise when they lose interest, raise a fuss, or fall asleep throughout the process.

When it comes to pre-teaching vocabulary, it is not enough to just pluck out a few terms from a chapter and urge students to look them up online. They can then jot them down on paper. We all know what will happen if you do that. Put the words in visuals or in context with other things that are interesting to the youngster instead of simply telling them. Analogies and metaphors are used to help students create a symbol or artwork for each of the words on the list. Allow for time for discussion on the words in small groups and with entire classrooms if possible. It is recommended that the dictionaries not be released until the students have completed all of the requirements. The dictionaries can only be used to compare definitions with those that have previously been discovered by the students.

Students are prepared to face the tough text with you as their guide if they have the first twelve words prepared in advance of the class.


Graphic organizers, charts, and photographs can all be utilized as scaffolding tools, as can any other type of tool. Graph organizers can be quite exact in the way they assist youngsters with graphically organizing thoughts and concepts such as cause-and-effect relationships, sequencing, and organizational structure.

Rather than becoming The Product, a graphic organizer should serve as a tool to guide and shape students’ thinking. A graphic organizer is not required for all students; nonetheless, many students find it beneficial to use one when writing essays or debating different hypotheses, for example. You might think of graphic organizers as a set of training wheels for your writing. They should be removed because they are only temporary.


The use of this technique can help students who are reading challenging materials or learning new topics to assess their comprehension. This method works as follows: first, share a new concept or read, then pause (to allow for reflection), then ask a strategic question, pause once more, and repeat the process.

It is critical to prepare the questions in advance of the test. Even the most challenging questions might be rendered ineffective if there is insufficient time for responses to be received. Consequently, don’t be frightened to be patient during that Uncomfortable Sitting session. By asking someone to recap what was discussed, found, or questioned, you may keep students interested as active listeners and engaged throughout the activity. If the class is unable to agree on a single question, students can work in pairs to debate the issues.

A large number of learners in our classrooms necessitates the need for teachers to experiment with innovative scaffolding techniques. Teachers I work with frequently tell me that I need to slow down for them to go more swiftly. Even though it may take longer to deliver a subject, scaffolding can make the process lot more pleasurable and result in a more positive learning experience for everyone involved.