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  • John Larmer, BIE Editor in Chief

The Buck Institute for Education | Gold Standard PBL: Scaffold Student Learning


The term “scaffolding” has been used in U.S. education for a while now, and its meaning has gotten a little fuzzy. When originally coined by Jerome Bruner in the 1960s, it meant “a process in which teachers model or demonstrate the problem-solving process, then step back and offer support as needed.” Now, it’s often used more generally to mean “support provided to students to help them learn or do something” – which could include lessons, modeling, coaching, workshops, tools, or any other resources they might need. It’s often linked with differentiated instruction, emphasizing the importance of employing the appropriate scaffold to meet individual student needs. In our model for Gold Standard PBL, we use the more general sense of the word when explaining one of the Project Based Teaching Practices but we also like the original definition’s “then step back” part. In PBL, after all, we want to encourage students to work independently from the teacher, to have voice and choice and a sense of ownership of the project and their learning. I talked about scaffolding in PBL on a Hangout with three of BIE’s National Faculty members, Dori Berg, Jorge Valenzuela, and Georgette Baltierrez-Manohorathat.

See entire blog post here.


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