Scaffolding PBL

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I had already touched on this in the last journal reflection but I’ll recap how I foresee scaffolding working in my project. Scaffolding is essential in any course regardless of whether or not PBL is being implemented. For students in my classes, it is likely that they have not experienced a PBL unit before and that they are not used to having lots of academic freedom\hands on time in a college course. Thus, structure and support will be essential for students to succeed in this PBL unit. Below is a brief summarization of how I have planned for scaffolding in my project thus far.

Activity Structure: Course activities and assessments are designed in such a way that they build from easier to more challenging. The students begin by completing individual explorations of upcoming content. I reserve the challenging activities for in-class activities where students can have the benefit of peer or teacher support when needed. In general, activities follow the we do – you do format where students are able to see an example of a process before being expected to complete it on their own.

Support Materials: When possible, resources and support documents will be provided to students to help them with course activities. For example, there are a number of helpful websites that provide information on how to take notes or critically read college-level content. For our primary source analysis activities, students will benefit from the use of analysis documents from both the National Archives and the Library of Congress. As we go through the semester, I will college student samples to help demonstrate what mastery looks like for each assessment.

Instructor Support: Most of the in-class activities are student-centered freeing me up to facilitate and support learners when they need it the most. As students explore primary sources or work on writing, I will be able to walk around. observe, and support on an as needed basis.

Institutional Support: At times, there will be topics where students need support that is better provided by someone other than me. For example, I can teach some writing skills but in extreme cases, a student may benefit from the assistance of a writing instructor in the writing lab. My college has a number of student support groups and facilities designed to help learners grow in terms of skills. When the need arises, I will either direct students to these experts or invite those experts into the classroom.

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