5 scaffold teaching strategies to stimulate active learning

Thomas Courtley, ex teacher and LessonUp education specialist

Thomas Courtley

Education Specialist

Cover image blog: scaffold learning

Scaffolding is an instructional method by which learning material is broken down into smaller content and skills that fall in the learner’s development zone. As a form of active learning, scaffolding prompts learners to actively engage in each step of the learning process. This allows them to practise skills, retrieve information, and receive feedback.

Thinking about scaffold teaching strategies? But don’t know where to start from? To give you some inspiration, we’ve prepared a lesson example about 'descriptive writing'. 👇


1. Formulate clear learning objectives and expectations

Formulating clear learning objectives for yourself and your learners will help them become more aware of what’s expected from them: “What do I know, and what do I still need to learn?”

If you use LessonUp 👉create a slide with the learning objective of each lesson, in clear and simple language. An example could be: “At the end of this lesson you will be able to OR you will know how…”. Students whose expectations are addressed in a clear and direct way feel recognised, and empowered to own their learning. This strategy helps you clarify your objectives.


2. Activate learners’ prior knowledge

As you know, activating prior knowledge creates space for new information. If we don’t review previous memories, remembering old information will hinder us from acquiring new information.

If you use LessonUp 👉Use a mind map to create on overview of your students’ prior knowledge, all in one digital slide. It will not only give you insight on the level of your entire classroom, but each student will feel heard and understood. In a later stage of your lesson you can show students the information in the initial mind map, to make them aware of how much they learned.


3. Inspire learners with engaging visuals

People are hardwired to respond to imagery. The visual cortex is the largest system in the human brain. Reading is a skill we learn, as opposed to spoken language and picture processing.

If you use LessonUp 👉The LessonUp library, with lessons created by teachers from all around the world, is also an immense image and video resource. Within our digital slides videos and images can be easily edited, provided with links, clickable hotspots, audio messages. They can also be overlayed with a wide range of interactive features, for example quizzes.


4. Think, pair, share

Critical thinking, and making the thinking process of a student visual are essential elements to help them in their learning process. A famous technique for scaffolding is ‘Think, pair, share’. 

If you use LessonUp 👉Students are first asked to think about a topic, then discuss it in pairs, and finally share their thoughts with the entire class. In LessonUp you can easily implement a digital open-ended question. Students can share their ideas in the classroom. The results are saved in your student reports, so you can always monitor and assess the outcome.


5. Meet different needs in different ways

Each student is unique, and has different difficulties and needs. Slightly differentiating your learning material might be the recipe to stimulate active learning for every student. 

If you use LessonUp 👉As a teacher, you can easily create several slightly differents versions of a digital lesson to share with your students. The automatically generated  lesson reports give you a clear idea about your students’ understanding of a specific lesson. Based on this information, you can customise a lesson with content matching your students’ level and pace.

Want to try scaffold teaching in our safe digital environment?