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The use of scaffolding has many implications for teaching. For instance, teachers need to be aware of a child’s present and potential understanding to identify the extent of the shortfall in knowledge. There is little point in trying to establish more advanced learning targets for children without having a reasonably precise grasp of what they currently know and what they are capable of achieving. This level of insight is far from easily acquired. However, by drawing alongside children, talking to them and allowing them to respond, offering feedback, advice and explanation, and discussing the next step in the learning process, it is possible to discern the extent of the shortfall and decide the best course of action. It is also important to remember that scaffolding strategies such as advising about options, demonstrating skills, pairing less and more able children and promoting group discussion require careful monitoring and employment if they are to be effective. You should always be on the lookout for

McCallum et al. (2000) interviewed children to find out their views about teaching and learning. Among their many findings, they discovered that there were marked differences between the perceived needs of younger and older primary children. Thus:

The Year 2 children did not talk about classroom ethos in the way that the Year 6 children did. The Year 2 children emphasized that for learning, they needed constant access to help, preferably through one-to-one interaction with the teacher, which sometimes meant the teacher simply giving them an answer. This implied that when the teacher was teaching from the front of the class, it was harder for them to learn.