Scaffolding – building happy learners

So, Worcester Learning Zone is up and running, and it’s going fantastically well. So well, in fact, that finding time for things like eating, sleeping and blog writing has been a bit of a challenge. But here goes, the third ever blog post, and today it’s all about scaffolding!

Scaffolding is a term we throw around a lot here at Worcester Learning Zone, but what does it mean? In simple terms it means we find out what a student can do on their own, and then support them so that they can learn new things that they wouldn’t otherwise be able to learn.

Sound simple? It is! There’s nothing new about this. In fact, scaffolding was first named as a teaching method by Lev Vygotsky, born 1987. He was a Soviet Belarusian psychologist interested in developmental psychology. He suggested that children need a “more knowledgeable other” to support and guide them through the learning process so that children could reach their true potential. Whilst this doesn’t sound earth shattering these days, it was a new concept at the time. Until then, children had learnt by rote, repetition and copying facts.

What does that mean for Worcester Learning Zone students?

Essentially, it means that we start by finding out what a student can already do, then offer them support and guidance in order for them to learn more. This can happen in a variety of ways. Whether we are playing a board game, completing workbooks or building with Lego, we talk to the students, ask questions and direct their attention towards the learning goal. Because we begin with knowledge they already hold, the student feels relaxed and confident that the learning objective is within their grasp.

Learning new things is an inherently stressful process as you are starting from a disadvantaged position. The teacher wants you to know or understand something that you currently don’t. Scaffolding helps adjust this perception so that you start from a position of confidence, confirming and consolidating the knowledge you do have, before adding in new knowledge and ideas.

Because we work on a one to one, we are able to pitch it at exactly the right level for each individual learner, allowing them to develop at their own pace. With consistent, patient tutoring, the students that attend Worcester Learning Zone are able to grow in confidence and find they enjoy their lessons with us.