Edublogger Debate: Scaffolding vs. Struggling – Can You Be Too Helpful?

My partner in crime here on The Edublogger, Sue Waters, and I have regular debates and conversations around a wide range of topics.

Recently, we were talking about best practices of professional development and writing support documents. We then moved on to a related discussion on best instructional strategies in the classroom when working with students.

One of us believes (and much research will show), that students will remember more and understand better when they struggle with concepts and new ideas. Learning experiences that provide students an opportunity to play with concepts and figure out on their own are best.

The other (with good reasoning and research to back it up too), believes that students that struggle will shut down. A better approach is to provide as much scaffolding as possible – activities that walk through information in a step-by-step manner.

No doubt that to some extent this will depend on the learner, content, environment, and more. But there is a general philosophy at play.

What Say You?

We think many of our readers will have great insight into helping us continue this debate.

Let’s turn this into a blogging discussion!

Here’s what we’d like to try and do:

  1. Write a post on your own blog about this topic. Share your thoughts, examples, research – or whatever you’d like
  2. Leave a comment below with a link to your post
  3. We’ll compile a list of all submissions at the end of the week on a post here on The Edublogger
If this works well, we hope to regularly ask questions like these to help provide everyone with topics to blog about and find new blogs to read.
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65 thoughts on “Edublogger Debate: Scaffolding vs. Struggling – Can You Be Too Helpful?

  1. I think it would be better to be scaffolding because if you’re struggling than you might feel bad about not understanding…and it goes up to feeling so bad that you just want to quit. But if you go by a step-by-step manner than you will learn how to understand it sooner or later.

  2. Well anyway I do agree because if it is too easy you will not get the idea of what is being taught. If it is hard enough to where you need help you can be taught things that you did not even think you could know. In this case you will learn something new that will help you in the future.

  3. I agree. Let kids learn on their own speed, so they aren’t confused by the teacher’s way of teaching the subject. I also think that the way teachers teach is absolutely lazy. That is why I agree with what I agree with. Now this typing session is officially over with.

  4. I personally think that struggling is better in the long run because you learn from struggling and it will teach you that making mistakes are ok sometimes and you have to learn to do things by yourself. They can expand their minds and learn for themselves that it is ok to struggle

  5. I would like to struggle than have someone help me. First, because when people help me they have their own way of learning and they try to help me and they don’t make it clear enough . There is my comment for people to read. 😀

  6. I would struggle because a lot of people learn from their mistakes. I think I believe the student should starting be strudeling because they will understand more what they have to learn and what had had learn. And they can understand better. That is why I think struggling is better.

  7. Manuel Pacheco
    5-7-12
    Rot.4
    50 -100

    I think struggling is better for everyone for multiple reasons. It can help anyone in the long run. It could help you figure out your problems in the future when you have no one to help you or lend a helping hand. So therefore we should let students figure and help them selves to expand there minds and need to learn by them selfs.

  8. Ms. Shanks,
    I do not agree with your opinion because I hate it when teachers are always helping me with everything. Like Mr. Neminech said, “In college, you have to do everything on your own.” If the teacher’s baby us like were in elementary, we will never learn to do anything on our own. When I go to college, i want to be successful, and not need to ask for help. In college, the teachers probably do not want to help you, because they would expect you to know the stuff you need to know. That’s why we go to Elementary, Middle, and High school. To learn everything we need and to be prepared for college. So, concluding my statement, I strongly disagree with your opinion.
    Shannon.

  9. I do agree with this stamen b/c some people do not how to do certain stuff. With the teachers help people can get to do stuff easier with a teacher your side

  10. I would rather struggle because then you learn from your mistakes. But this article has showed me different ways or way to learn so I understand now that people can learn by step by step teaching. Step by step may be easier for a lot of people because if they did it on their own they can go back to see what they did wrong but still I agree with struggling man! t(-__-)t

  11. Well , I do not agree with this article because I think its easier to learn step-by-step instead of suffering , because I think its easier to learn from watching an example , so you can get better. For example , in volleyball (basketball, soccer, ect.) most of the coaches help you learn step-by-step so you can at least have an idea on what you’re doing. But in some other cases , suffering is helpful also. I taught myself how to play guitar and when I did that I had to teach myself and work harder to perfect that.
    – Linda . (:

  12. Well , since my other comment got deleted , im going shorten it up because that made me really dejected . So i dont agree with this and its easier to learn step-by-step…. :I
    – Lindaaa .c[:

  13. i would rather struggle because then you learn from your mistakes. But this article has showed me different ways or way to learn so i understand now

  14. I think i belive the student should starting be strudeling because they will understand more what they have to learn and what had had learn.and they can undestand more better.

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