Scaffolding for Independence

I shared this RDI post a few weeks back. It's a quick read so click right here to get the background of today's post.

I have been thinking about how to scaffold different sections of our last planned engagement to enhance Nick's learning experience. My wish is to guide Nick in such a way that he feels comfortable with uncertainty and also ensure that the challenge he is faced with is not too overwhelming. In RDI speak we call this 'edge + 1'.

For example: Nick finds it difficult to judge the amount of Nesquik powder to collect on his teaspoon and he invariably overloads the spoon (the instructions state to use three teaspoons). I threw around a few ideas and eventually decided on the easiest one. Nick could spoon two teaspoons of the powder into his glass! You can check out our experience in the following clip.

Before you watch the (one minute) clip, I would like you to take note of a few things.

* Watch me and observe how I scaffold this part of the activity. Take note that I am only using declarative language and I also make sure to pause and wait for Nick to respond. I don't tell him what to do. I make suggestions and the decision to participate is Nick's. Watch how he references me for information and guidance. We are working together nicely without any pressure.

1. I reflected on a previous experience. This was to encourage Nick to recollect what happened last time and also give him a clue of what is going to happen next.

2. I pause and let Nick take the initiative.

3. I don't jump in and assist when Nick takes three teaspoons. I let him finish... and then spotlight that he 'forgot' and remind him that we are going to do two teaspoons.

4. I decide to add in a little challenge and let Nick know that we are going to try again.

5. I didn't assist in any way while Nick was having his second attempt. I gave him the time to make his own decision.

6. I made sure to spotlight what happened.

I realise that I wasn't going to share any more video footage of us, however, I find that a visual representation of an interaction is powerful and extremely helpful. It is much easier for me to share a clip with you, than write a very long blog post explaining the whole process. Video footage helps me to reflect on our activity and think about our way forward. Nick also gets to watch himself in action and I am sure it helps him to encode the experience and add it to his memory bank for future reference.

So, what did you think? Was the video clip helpful? Did it give you some ideas on how to use declarative language? Did you notice that I was providing opportunities for Nick to think for himself and make his own decisions? Did you find our interaction encouraging?


  1. I always find them helpful - and here you are showing how to let your child make a mistake and then giving them the chance to correct it - so important x

    1. I am so pleased that you find the info helpful. Thank you so much for your support. xx


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