Teachers’ Use of High- and Low-Support Scaffolding Strategies to Differentiate Language Instruction in High-Risk/Economically Disadvantaged Settings

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The focus of the present work was to examine teachers’ use of dynamic processes when implementing static language lesson plans that explicitly required teachers to employ scaffolding strategies so as to differentiate instruction. Participants were 37 preschool teachers and 177 children in their classrooms. Videotaped classroom observations were carried out and coded for the frequency of teachers’ use for six types of scaffolds. Children were assessed on measures of language skills. Study findings indicated that teachers utilized scaffolding strategies at relatively low rates and that they utilized low-support scaffolding strategies more frequently than high-support strategies. Furthermore, results suggested that the use of certain types of scaffolding strategies may be beneficial for children’s development of language skills. Findings from this work suggest that teachers may benefit from professional development opportunities focusing on the use of dynamic features of language interventions, such as scaffolding strategies, in the preschool classroom.

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