• What is Scaffolding?

Posted by: kidhelper on Monday, August 20th, 2012

What is Scaffolding?

Scaffolding is a term that is used in the educational field for a reading paradigm. Teachers use this term to cover how to teach reading to the children. “A set of training wheels on a bicycle is a classic example of scaffolding. It is adjustable and temporary, providing the young rider with the support he or she needs while learning to ride a two-wheeler. Without an aid of this sort, the complex tasks of learning to pedal, balance, and steer all at one time would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, for many youngsters. This scaffold—training wheels—allows the learners to accomplish a goal, riding a bicycle successfully, and then to happily pedal his or her way into the wider world.” ~Michael F. Graves, Bonnie Graves, and Sheldon Braaten, Scaffolded Reading Experiences for Inclusive Classes.

However, the four principles have been applied to other disciplines, for our purposes, leadership training.

Here are the four scaffolding principles applied to leadership.

Level One: I Do, You Watch

You recruit new volunteers for involvement and they watch you. This is kind of a chaperone role, where little is required of the helper—just observing, or just being another person in the room.

Level Two: I Do, You Help

You gradually ask the volunteer to help you and you watch what they do. Working together to accomplish the task, taking on some level of responsibility to only help you, with crafts, help serve snacks, help with games or take attendance and handout supplies. You are clearly in charge and they would not assume any responsibility to be in charge of anything on this level. Eventually, they are willing to help and take more responsibility with your help, eventually.

Level Three: You Do, I Help

Now the volunteer is doing what you did and your role shifts to help them. Your presence is required. You don’t leave them alone. They take on some responsibility. You maintain your relationship, still working with them. This is the level where you begin to delegate tasks where they have to step up their involvement.

Level Four: You Do, I Watch

After some practice the volunteer is doing the work, you now watch and admire what they do as you trained them. This level still requires your leadership, but now they are partnering with you to share the ministry in some definite way. They are taking on some responsibility and becoming a trained leader.

Some Observations:

  1. Recruit for level one: involvement and then try to move them up the levels over time. Use the “Sublist.”
  2. Debriefing is a constant activity in every level. It is where the learning and relationship happens.
  3. It is seldom that you can initially recruit for level four—it skips too many steps in the process.
  4. These levels make a case for Master Teachers who use these levels for bringing new recruits into leadership.
  5. At level three and four you feel the teamwork and partnership happen.
  6. These levels start as indirect ways of recruiting help and training leaders.   It is also slower, but better training.
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