How to scaffold a student struggling with language?
Scaffolding has a broader meaning today and in language aware classes it may, for example, consist of different kinds of activities the teacher uses to support the student.
As a starting point the teacher needs to have a clear picture of the different phases of ‘language aware’ learning: what should be learnt and in which order? According to the Finnish National Agency for Education (2017) language aware teaching includes three different phases:
- Phase 1: The teacher gives a model of the ability/skill to be learned. For example, in math, the teacher proceeds to the mathematical rule to be learned through illustrative examples while interacting with students to co-construct knowledge. If teachers know their student’s first language, they may also translate key words or concepts to insure students’ understanding.
- Phase 2: When all the students understand the rule, it is time to work together. Here, the responsibility for learning moves slowly towards the student but s/he continues to be scaffolded by the teacher whenever in need of help. Working together may include, for example, summarizing the different phases of a calculation on the smartboard or on a tablet.
- Phase 3: In this phase, the students have learnt the matter that was practiced and they are able to start working independently.
Finnish National Agency for Education (2017)