Creating Scaffolding Instruction for Gifted and Exceptional Students

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Scaffolding Tips for Teachers

The classroom experience can be a daunting place of learning for gifted and exceptional students. For students who may process information at a quicker learning pace and for those who may have difficulty processing the learning at all, teachers must differentiate content instruction to increase learning capacity for all students.

Scaffolding instruction can help in content instruction by breaking down the complexity of content into simpler blocks of learning materials. There are various methods in scaffolding that teachers can use to help gifted and exceptional students access academic content and process understanding in maximizing assessment outcome.

The following scaffolding instruction tips can be used by teachers to support gifted and exceptional learners in the classroom:

  • Lecturing remains the exclusive mode of instruction for a lot of teachers in providing academic content for students. Teachers should diversify instruction by using various methods of content delivery in the classroom in breaking down complex material into simple learning blocks. For example, teachers can lecture for 15-20 minutes; provide group work for students that includes active discussion; and present an assessment activity to see what students have learned during the class period.
  • Discussion should become a regular instructional tool that encourages students to process and reflect questions of clarity or additional scaffolding in their learning objective. Teachers should encourage students to engage in collaborative group discussion and provide class time for groups to present application and analysis of academic knowledge to each other. Discussion of this type creates another avenue of learning for gifted and exceptional students.
  • Think-Pair-Share is a strategy used in many classrooms where discussion can also be a paired experience where two students are paired together to reflect on the learning and share with the class. For gifted and exceptional students, this becomes an opportunity to think outside the box in presenting different ways of processing information.
  • Note Taking and Visual Cues can be effective when teachers provide students with a handout that is aligned with the lecture where students can complete sentences, fill in the blanks or create visual cues of the learning objectives. Teachers can also provide computer time using software that further clarifies the learning objectives and provides additional tutorials for gifted and exceptional learners.

Gifted and exceptional students can be challenged in any classroom given the right learning tools. Scaffolding instruction is one tool that teachers can incorporate that is directly correlated with academic outcome and achievement success.