When I was a young girl, I wanted to ride a bike. However, I had to start with a tricycle. I needed to be close to the ground, and I needed the support of extra wheels. However, after a couple of years, I was ready to ride a children’s bicycle. Of course, it had training wheels, because I still needed the balance of two additional wheels at the back. Next, I remember the day my father took off the training wheels so I could ride without them. He still held on to the back of the seat, to make sure I learned how to keep my balance without the extra wheels. Finally, he let go of the seat and let me ride by myself, one of the proudest days of my young life.
That’s one way to think of scaffolding. At the beginning of a new concept, students may need strong, consistent support so they don’t falter. Then, lessen the support a bit, but still ensure that you have built in the scaffolding strategies, Next, pull back a bit, but still stay close by to make sure they are successful. Lastly, they’ll try it by themselves and show they understand the concept without your help.