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Scaffolding – a teaching approach

The concept of the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) has been expanded, modified, and changed into new concepts since Vygotsky’s original conception.

The concept of scaffolding is closely related to the ZPD, although Vygotsky himself never mentioned the term; instead, scaffolding was developed by other sociocultural theorists applying Vygotsky’s ZPD to educational contexts. 

Scaffolding is a process through which a teacher or more competent peer gives aid to the student in her/his ZPD as necessary, and tapers off this aid as it becomes unnecessary, much as a scaffold is removed from a building during construction. 

According to education expert Nancy Balaban, “Scaffolding refers to the way the adult guides the child’s learning via focused questions and positive interactions.” 

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