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That's not to say that students should not work together in collaborative learning; they should.
We have argued for productive group work in which students interact with one another and generate ideas to produce individual works (Frey et al., 2009).
Interestingly, this limitation is removed when information from long-term memory is moved back into working memory to complete a task (Ericsson & Kintsch, 1995).
Like scaffolds that hold a building in place as it's constructed, "scaffolding is actually a bridge used to build upon what students already know to arrive at something they do not know.
The underlying idea for learning scaffolds is relatively old.
Most people trace the concept to Lev Vygotsky's (1978) idea of the "zone of proximal development." Vygotsky believed that a learner's developmental level consisted of two parts: the "actual developmental level" and the "potential developmental level." The zone of proximal development, then, is "the distance between the actual developmental level as determined by independent problem solving and the level of potential development as determined through problem solving under adult guidance, or in collaboration with more capable peers" (p. In Vygotsky's words, the zone of proximal development "awakens a variety of internal developmental processes that are able to operate only when the child is interacting with people in his environment" (p. The zone of proximal development can also be described as the difference between what a learner can do independently and what can be accomplished with the help of a "more knowledgeable other." This concept is critical for understanding how to scaffold learning.
In other words, the zone of proximal development is ever changing as the learner validates and extends knowledge.
This process is what led Vygotsky to write: "Through others, we become ourselves" (Rieber, 1998, p. But Vygotsky did not use the term scaffold or scaffolding.