Reconceptualizing teaching through the concept of scaffolding

Those who teach in universities are experts in their fields, but many do not have teaching backgrounds. ‘Scaffolding’ can be conceptualized as a means to structure students’ learning experiences regardless of the subject or course in ways that assist them to reach the target of a lesson, course goals and their learning potential. In this presentation, we will unpack the concept of scaffolding by showing the learning theory that supports it; its role in that theory, and practical step by step examples of how scaffolding can work within a lesson to help students reach their learning potential. The claim will be made that ‘teaching is scaffolding”. As a part of our teacher development, recognition of this concept will allow our tacit knowledge of teaching to become more explicit, leading to ways to reconceptualize our teaching and better inform it. 


Terry is a Professor Emeritus at Kumamoto University where he is teaching skills and content-based English courses. He continues to be very much involved in teaching and teacher training. He also does team teaching at a local high school, which he finds to be both satisfying to him and an effective hands on approach to offer teacher development.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s