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V- Scaffolding vs. Shaping & Chaining
ITEC 800 Midterm 02.pdf
Scaffolding is defined as instructional practice where masters model the desired learning or ability, then gradually shifts responsibility to the learner by slowly with-drawing guided practice. Learners are able to grasp concepts that may not be attained if left to do so independently or the Zone of Proximal Development – ZPD.
Shaping is defined as the practice of conditioning a learners’ behavior by introducing or removing procedures using an external stimulus. Shaping is widely used to obtain a desired behavior. The new behavior can be a series of steps referred to as chaining.
1. Define the goal or target behavior, either new or modify an existing behavior
2. Reinforce successive components of the chain
3. Monitor Results
Scaffolding operates as instructor-regulated learning that transitions to student-regulated learning as a more Cognitivist approach. This process happens over time, as students become more knowledgeable about the desired task. Instructors use guided practice to involve students in their learning. Instructors gradually release their responsibility, while student increases their role in responsibility. Over time the students are more actively involved in their learning and understanding. The student learning becomes student-regulated.
Shaping and Chaining
Shaping and chaining is a behaviorist approach to a desired behavior. The practice operates through a system of stimulus and response. As a desired behavior is accomplished, the subject gets some sort of stimulus to reinforce the behavior through repeated stimulus/response. No real learning is assessed, but this practice only looks at behavior of the subject therefore it is often used in doing procedures that may included many steps.
A scaffolding example can be viewed as students learn to language. English language learners or ELL often start with instruction that is almost instructor-regulated. Teachers general do all skill building, helping students to form a solid foundation. Initially, students are rarely given the opportunity to do independent work. Many ELL teachers use pictures to communicate and teach reading through guided practice. As students begin to learn the foundations, instructors will gradually give assignments that shift responsibly to students to acquire more understanding. Eventually students will have enough foundational experiences, that students will be able to read on their own. This is most evident in learning foreign languages, since it is very difficult for students to learn a new language on their own. The desired learning task is made possible when the teacher facilitates the learning.
Shaping and Chaining
Shaping is used to establish behavior as the desired goal. A common shaping goal is student doing certain tasks during lab days in science class. The instructor does not wear a white lab coat on standard days of school. Yet on lab days, the instructors wears a white lab coat that signifies that certain behaviors and task must be done. For example, backpacks must be stowed away, lab benches must be clear for equipment use, and note paper will be on desks to record data. Students are shaped over time. If the students do not follow each procedure, they are subject to not receiving a credit stamp. Each stamp is given for each task, which reinforces the behavior. Other teachers often have a clip board where points can be given or deducted from students if the desired behavior is not followed. The stamps and/or clipboard points are used as the external stimulus to reinforce the desired behavior.
Scaffolding has strengths within instruction since it allows students to acquire new and complex learning that may not be obtained if pursued by the lone student. Guided practice models many concepts and task that students can internalize and comprehend with assistance. The gradually shift in responsibility gives students the “buy-in” to their own learning, making students active in their learning process.
Shaping and Chaining
Shaping and chaining strengths are good for establishing patterns of behavior. Procedures are common among all instructional practices, but do not focus on the learning itself. Shaping and chaining focus is on the behavior of the learner, while not what concepts have been mastered. External stimulus will shape and reinforce behavior, but this only develops learner to be externally motivated. Learners are not engaged in this practice to be self-motivated. While the practice can be seen as beneficial to rout learning or laboratory safety, it does not serve the learner to be internally motivated. Higher ordered processes such as analysis and problem-solving are not addressed in this behaviorist practice.
The scaffolding practice is widely used in education. Many teachers may not understand or do not recognize this practice. Scaffolding is extremely useful in classroom instruction for students with limited skills. Gauging the cognitive ability of students is important to understand student learning. Goals are often determined without an understanding if the content is appropriate for students to acquire. Many instances result in failure when teachers do not gauge student ability and plan instruction far outside the ZPD. Teachers become frustrated, while students are over-whelmed. More importantly, students self perception and motivation greatly deceases when failure occurs in schools. If instruction is planned accordingly that suits the learners’ ZPD, students are more likely to achieve the desired task and become more confident and self-regulating.
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