Publication Details

Irina Verenikina, Understanding scaffolding and the ZPD in educational research, Proceedings of the International Education Research Conference (AARE - NZARE), 30 November - 3 December 2003, Auckland, New Zealand. Conference website here.


Marcia (pseudonyms have been used for the students and teachers mentioned in this paper), a third year early childhood student, was undertaking her teaching practice in a Kindergarten classroom. At the Faculty of Education reflection day Marcia approached me in tears. The reflection day is held half way though the practicum in order to give students an opportunity to share their classroom experiences with peers and lecturers. She was not happy with her supervising teacher, Annette, who would not allow her to scaffold the pupils reading comprehension in her classroom. Annette demanded of Marcia that books be read to the children without comments or questions. The teacher's concern was that Marcia would impose her own understanding of the story on her students which might suppress their spontaneity and freedom in interpreting the text and take away their ability to think for themselves. Mostly, Annette was concerned with Marcia's questions on "story prediction". She didn't think that asking specific questions such as, "Do you think the Duck will come back?" was appropriate. To support her claim, Annette, an educator of the older generation, referred to the theory of Piaget which she studied in her undergraduate degree. Marcia was very disappointed with her supervising teacher, as she believed in scaffolding as one of the most advanced teaching technique to date. She also felt that to her, scaffolding was a natural way of sharing reading with young children. As an educator, she felt somewhat constrained and restricted by not being able to talk to children and ask questions while reading to them

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