Scaffolding And Mental Stamina
A study on how the implementation of scaffolds can aid students with lower mental stamina and slower processing skills
Date : 25/07/2019
Enquiry title: How can effective scaffolding help to increase the mental stamina of students with slower processing skills, whilst allowing them to access scorching activities?
Targeted students: FBA, RW, CC
Barriers to learning for targeted students:
Student A: FBA has a lack of confidence and is quiet in lessons. He is attentive, but would rather quietly struggle than ask for help. FBA suffers from Asperger s syndrome. His written work is quite weak and he struggles to manage lots of information at once. When he does grasp a concept he will steadily complete all tasks that utilise that particular skill. FBA is currently working just below his internal target.
Student B: CC has a statement and is a Pupil Premium student. She shows a lack of confidence and is extremely quiet in lessons. She does however work well at the front with quite an outspoken pupil (Qi). She is currently working above her target and has made good progress this year.
Student C: RW is a Pupil Premium student, but unlike FBA or CC she has not got a statement. She does however struggle with the pace of work in lesson. I am assuming this is be down to her to her ability to process information as she is always attentive in lesson and always delivers exceptional homework.
Intervention(s) implemented based on research:
The Academic papers I read:
1/ Understanding, diagnosing and coping with slow processing speed Butnik
2/ Scaffolding Didau
Key findings from the academic papers that impacted on my Lesson Study planninglt;/p>
1/ comments that gifted students can too suffer from slow processing speeds, often not finishing coursework or homework taking ages to complete. Some of these students have trouble with activation . This is where they may not begin a task due to problems organising time and materials often caused by uncertainty and anxiety. He claims that these students encounter issues with mental stamina whereby the brain feels tired
To help improve mental stamina I decided to ensure that these students were exposed to the following:
- Differentiation of instructions
- increase the time available for students to complete set tasks
- Eliminate unnecessary clerical tasks
- Reduce the number of tasks required
2/ the article is pro scaffolding and writes about the importance of it and its benefits. Didau comments on how they break down long texts into small chunks to enhance a students understanding along with them serving as a checklist when answering problems.
Didau then refers to scaffolding in a practical sense& on a building site. Builders use scaffolds to attempt projects that would be initially impossible, but they also plan to take them down in order for the building/sculpture to be fully appreciated.
In terms of a maths lesson, this scaffolding would be used during main activities as well as feedback tasks. The scaffold would be used to prevent this particular students from feeling stuck . I would need to ensure however that the scaffold was never used to make work easier, but rather to make the impossible, possible. This would be within keeping lessons challenging for all, yet accessible to all. I would also need to ensure that the scaffold was eventually removed.
Key changes/developments to my practice during the Lesson Study cycle:
1/I adapted my lessons to ensure that when teaching particularly challenging topics (which would not have always been accessible to Students A, B and C) that copying notes and lecturing the class were limited. Instead I ensured that these topics were discussed by the students to discover rather than simply rote learn the topics at hand. In addition to this I provided notes within their worksheets that they could simply stick into their books. This allowed these students in particular to focus on what was being taught/ discussed rather than using exhausting their mental stamina by tediously copying from the whiteboard, whilst it also allowed for more time in lesson to problem solve.
2/ in both feedback tasks and activities in lessons, I ensured that scaffolds where in place to eliminate learning blocks in the named students. Feedback tasks were differentiated depending on an area of weakness for each student. These tasks would include a step by step example of how to answer a particular mathematical question. Students would then have the opportunity to answer a similar question with a scaffold, followed by another similar one with the scaffold removed. There was a similar trend with this in classwork activities. Following an explanation or a mathematical discovery and some assessment for learning, students would complete activities suited to their understanding. Those struggling to grasp a concept would be given a step by step worked example, coupled with a few questions with scaffolds in place. These scaffolds would be gradually removed until the student could answer the question independently.
3/ I included significantly higher demand tasks in general lessons. I am currently considering introducing scorching tasks that are equivalent to much higher levels of education and identifying that level for the students. The students were very responsive when told of the levels of the tasks set in these lessons. This was encouraging and clearly a tool to encourage higher aspirations when given the chance to select a task.
How the targeted students respond to the interventions?
Student A: FBA has reacted well to the interventions. His response to feedback tasks is a lot more detailed and his working out has a lot more structure to it. His confidence has increased and although he does not nominate himself to share ideas in lesson, when probed he is more than happy to share his thoughts with the class.
Student B: CC has remained extremely quiet in lesson. However on closer inspection to her classwork the quality of her work has improved. She is also tackling the warmer and scorching tasks and is doing so successfully. She has interacted well with students adjacent to her, asking for her when she is stuck.
Student C: I have noticed that particularly over the last few weeks, RW has attempted the higher level tasks rather than going for the safer warm tasks. I believe that the scaffolds are accelerating her understanding and confidence in her maths and she is more steadily able to complete tasks without the scaffolds in place. She is requesting more help during lessons. She has volunteered answers to questions more recently whilst she has offered ideas during discussions.
Improving my Lesson Study cycle next academic year?
During my lesson study I have gathered feedback from the three students and used this in my planning, whilst the students have used their feedback as a guide to improve their learning, an approach that I feel has been formative. If I was to repeat this lesson study again, I would couple this approach with more summative assessments& create a test at the beginning and end of the assessment to compare their progress to others in the class.
Based on my findings from this year s Lesson Study, the top three pieces of information to share with the rest of the school with regards to improving students learning?
1. Providing a scaffold to students with slower processing skills is helpful when getting them to access more challenging topics. However these scaffolds must be reduced as confidence and understanding increases to enable greater independence in attempting these questions.
2. Eliminating tedious clerical tasks and the amount of tasks required reduces the demand on the mental stamina of students with slower processing speeds. This frees up their concentration to focus on key points and gives them more time to solve problems.
Article created by: MrKay
Academic Year: 2015-16
This resource was uploaded by: Perry