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Advantages & Disadvantages of Scaffolding in the Classroom

Updated July 20, 2017

Scaffolding is a teaching technique used to build connections for learners by establishing details surrounding a unit before it is actually taught. Scaffolding allows the teacher to build a bridge from the learners' current knowledge to the information being taught. Scaffolding is properly performed by a teacher by modelling a given task and slowly transferring the knowledge to the learner so he can firmly grasp the subject matter.

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Engaging The Learner

Through scaffolding, the learner is engaged in an active process of learning. The teacher builds on the knowledge the learner has of a particular topic. Scaffolding is like a research assignment in which the learner is made to find the solution to unanswered questions. This motivates the learner and gives him an urge to learn more.

Minimising Frustration

Scaffolding minimises the learner's level of frustration. It can be used to "cool down" learners who are easily frustrated when learning with their peers. A learner's behaviour can be monitored, and time can be taken to counsel her on the frustration she builds while learning with the others the same class.


Scaffolding can be disadvantageous for teachers, because it necessitates giving up control to allow learners to learn at their own pace. It is also time-consuming; you might not have adequate time to complete your entire scaffolding lesson. On certain occasions, you may be forced to cut short the time allocated for each student in order to accommodate all learners. This can result in frustration, and the students' urge to learn can slowly fade.

Need for Training

In order to handle learners in scaffolding lessons, teachers need professional training. This teaching strategy requires the teacher to allow the students to make some mistakes in order to learn. Teachers not trained specifically in this method are unlikely to intentionally allow pupils to make mistakes in the process of learning.

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About the Author

Gabriel Peters' interest in writing began in 1996 after leaving Canada to study in Great Britain. His articles for the weekly “Sunday Times” of Brisbane Eastern Australia have been hailed as "refreshing and insightful." He completed his Bachelor of Arts (Hons) in international journalism in 2001 at Birmingham University.

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