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Slang Dictionary: Scaffolding

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What Is "Scaffolding"

While it may sound like a term associated with construction, “scaffolding” has a unique meaning in the realm of education and learning. In this slang dictionary entry, we’ll unravel its meaning, related words, origins, users, examples, and how to use it appropriately in academic writing.

What Is “Scaffolding”?

“Scaffolding” is a term used in education to describe a supportive framework or structure provided by teachers or educators to assist students in learning and problem-solving. It involves breaking down complex tasks or concepts into smaller, manageable steps, allowing learners to build their understanding gradually.

Related Terms

Here are some related terms often associated with “scaffolding” in the context of education and learning:

  • ZPD (Zone of Proximal Development): A concept introduced by psychologist Lev Vygotsky, referring to the range of tasks that a learner can perform with guidance or assistance.
  • Supportive Learning Environment: A classroom or educational setting that encourages collaboration, critical thinking, and assistance for students.
  • Guided Instruction: A teaching approach that provides structured support and guidance to learners as they engage in new or challenging tasks.

Where Does This Term Come From?

The term “scaffolding” in an educational context was popularized by psychologist Jerome Bruner in the 1960s. Bruner’s theories emphasized the importance of providing structured support to learners to help them acquire new skills and knowledge. Over time, “scaffolding” became a fundamental concept in education and instructional design.

Who Uses This Term?

“Scaffolding” is a term commonly used by educators, instructional designers, and researchers in the field of education. It plays a pivotal role in discussions about effective teaching strategies and student-centered learning.

Examples of Using This Term

Here are a couple of examples demonstrating how “scaffolding” can be used in sentences:

“The teacher provided scaffolding by breaking down the complex math problem into smaller steps, making it easier for students to grasp.”

“Scaffolding is essential for learners in the early stages of acquiring a new language, as it helps them gradually develop their communication skills.”

What to Replace This Term within Academic Writing

In formal academic writing, use “structured support” or “guided assistance” instead of “scaffolding” to maintain clarity and professionalism while conveying a similar meaning.

Quote of the Day

“Scaffolding is like providing a sturdy ladder for learners to climb towards knowledge, one step at a time.” – Dr. Educator


Now that you’ve explored the concept of “scaffolding,” you understand its crucial role in facilitating effective learning and problem-solving. Just as scaffolds support construction workers, educational scaffolding supports learners as they build their understanding and skills.