Opening an email from De La Salle had been a habit lately. Waiting for some announcements such as suspension of classes, new schedules of courses and dates of online enrollment, friendly reminders to return overdue books borrowed from The Learning Commons, and of course, LOTS of invitations to attend lectures, workshops and seminars.
Last week is no different. We were invited to attend a seminar-workshop by Dr. Josefina Goodwin, a Science Teacher at the MCS and a Science Instructional Coach at Shelby County Schools, Memphis, Tennessee. The invitation reads:
Do you find that you waive scaffolding a lesson because it seems like a lot of work to do? As teachers, we already have a lot on our plates, so scaffolding may not be at the top of our list. But if you don’t scaffold a lesson, then it’s like teaching a child to ride his bike without the training wheels on. It’s important that we teachers don’t just say “I would like you to study chapters 1 and 2.” We have to give our students the tools to know what to do and how to do it.
In this session, you will be able to:
- Describe scaffolding and how it is used in instruction .
- Look at the different scaffolding strategies and what they look like in science.
- Visit the Gradual Release of Responsibility Model and define its components.
- Plan for instruction within the framework of the Gradual Release of Responsibility Model
- Look at several examples of C-E-R (Claim, Evidence, and Reasoning) as applied in different areas of science.
- Utilize new tools and strategies for instruction
This kind of invitation makes you really want to listen to the lecture and learn as much as you can. Dr. Goodwin explained well the two types of scaffolding strategies, GRR and CER, and even gave numerous activities demonstrating how to use the said strategies. Though the discussion focused more on its applications to science, teachers from all subject areas may adopt scaffolding technique to actively engage students to think critically, work independently, and reason out in a very logical manner.
In this age where learners are dependent on the internet (hello Google!) to supply a quick information when it is needed, scaffolding as a strategy would train students to look for evidences and give valid arguments whenever a conclusion or claim will be arrived at. As teachers’ roles are shifting from being mere authorities to facilitators in the classrooms, it would be best to use scaffolding in a wide repertoire of methods where we expect students to take responsibility for their own learning.
How I wish I could share everything that were learned from the seminar but hey, the net offers a lot of articles dealing with this pedagogy. We are free to search activities, materials, sample plans, discussions and forums about instructional scaffolding. Happy surfing!
Here are our pictures during and after the workshop.