Why do some people, even teachers, oppose scaffolding? The definition of scaffolding I pulled off the internet is by Beth Lewis:
Scaffolding refers to the idea that specialized instructional supports need to be in place in order to best facilitate learning when students are first introduced to a new subject. Scaffolding refers to the idea that specialized instructional supports need to be in place in order to best facilitate learning when students are first introduced to a new subject.
What’s behind the opposition which seems on the face of it to be simply a way of insuring learning? It’s social.
Reading a book like Intelligence and How to Get It leaves you with the understanding that children from the solid middle-class have inculcated in them from an early age certain algorithms, behavior patterns, experiences which prepare them for the classroom.
The classroom itself, with its programmed curriculum, follows the behavioral patterns of middle-class culture. Therefore, middle-class families, by virtue of who they are, prepare their children for schools that are designed by and for people like themselves. In this way, the rewards available to people with those skills or abilities are kept within a particular social group.
Scaffolding recognizes that not all children come to the classroom with a familiarity with classroom procedures and manners, the culture of the school. They do well, nevertheless, and many make it through public education. However, their school experience may be quite different from the experience of middle-class kids. I asked the AP teachers during a meeting if the class make-up represented the campus in terms of the ethnic origin of the students. The answer was a decided no; the Hispanic, Black, and Native American students were “underrepresented” in the AP classes – basically, there weren’t any.
Other examples abound: sports teams made up of mostly one ethnic group or music groups made up of one particular religious group. You have to be careful that there are not rational reasons for this, e.g. soccer dominated by Hispanics in a school where the other kids play baseball and basketball or a religion that emphasizes performance “road shows” from an early age, thus giving them an edge in auditions for chorus and drama.
Nevertheless, it is obvious to teachers that some students can succeed if given that support in school. That, however, upsets the social apple-cart and it vaguely bothers some people when they see it happening. It may come out in weasel words, like, “Are you sure ALL the students in this advanced class are up to the rigor?” “Just how do you select the students; is it through objective testing or is there some emphasis on including students based on teacher recommendations and the like?” What they are getting at is they just don’t believe the brown kids are smart enough to be in these classes and so they must have got in through some bleeding-heart liberal shoe-horning them in.
Schools must be vigilant to see that this sort of social discrimination does not occur. Sometimes it’s blatant, as when a teacher pointed to a prospective principal’s resume with BYU (a Mormon school) on it and saying, “We don’t need any more of them” or it may be more subtle as above where a subtle questioning occurs whenver the “undesireables” seem to be getting out of their “place”.