Scaffolding: a broader view

J Learn Disabil. 1998 Jul-Aug;31(4):386-96. doi: 10.1177/002221949803100408.


To situate the concept of scaffolding within a broader context than that addressed by Stone, I discuss it with respect to (a) the historical context of learning disabilities, (b) the emerging focus on learners' activity, (c) the reification of learning disabilities, and (d) the unintended effects that frequently occur as a by-product of injudicious (and often unintentional) scaffolding. I conclude that the effective practice of special education has been inhibited by our isolation of interventions from the theories that give rise to them, and by the way we structure teacher education. Although scaffolding is not the answer to correcting these problems, it may serve to refocus our attention and efforts in useful ways.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Education, Special
  • Humans
  • Learning Disabilities*
  • Teaching