Cognitive scaffolding is a teaching strategy that was cleverly named for the practical resemblance it bears to the physical scaffolds used on construction sites. The strategy consists of teaching new skills by engaging students collaboratively in tasks that would be too difficult for them to complete on their own. The instructor initially provides extensive instructional support, or scaffolding, to continually as- sist the students in building their understanding of new content and process. Once the students inter- nalize the content and/or process, they assume full responsibility for controlling the progress of a given task. The temporary scaffolding provided by the instructor is removed to reveal the impressive perma- nent structure of student understanding.
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