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Scaffolding Collective Engagement


by Debra K. Meyer & Dennis Smithenry — 2014

While recognizing that instructional scaffolding in a whole-class context can engage students’ learning as they move through individual zone of proximal developments (ZPDs), in this chapter, we argue that instructional scaffolding also can collectively engage a class through a shared ZPD when participant structures and discourse practices provide for coparticipation and alter traditional notions of teacher support and shared responsibility. A case study of a chemistry classroom is presented to substantiate this argument and illustrate how instructional scaffolding can be used as a support for collective engagement.


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This article originally appeared as NSSE Yearbook Vol 113, No. 1.


Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 116 Number 13, 2014, p. 124-145
http://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 18321, Date Accessed: 12/12/2017 7:27:08 AM

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About the Author
  • Debra Meyer
    Elmhurst College
    E-mail Author
    DEBRA MEYER is a professor of education at Elmhurst College. Her research interests include instructional characteristics of classroom contexts that support student engagement and motivation, as well as teacher motivation and emotion. Recent publications include: “Classroom Instructional Context” (in press) in E. Anderman & J. Hattie (Eds.), International Handbook of Student Achievement, Routledge Publishers, and “Entering the Emotional Practices of Teaching” (2009) in P. A. Schutz & M. Zembylas (Eds.), Advances in Teacher Emotion Research: The Impact on Teachers’ Lives, Springer Publications.
  • Dennis Smithenry
    Elmhurst College
    E-mail Author
    Dennis Smithenry is an associate professor of education at Elmhurst College. He examines how to transform the typical science classroom into one in which the students and their teacher participate in a community of scientific practice. He is particularly interested in understanding how teachers can design and enact participant structures in the classroom so that their students take on more authority for working together as a whole class to collectively solve teacher-posed problems. Recent coauthored publications include: “Collaboratively Exploring the Use of a Video Case- Based Book as a Professional Development Tool” (in press), Journal of Science Education and Technology, and Whole-Class Inquiry: Creating Student-Centered Science Communities (2009), NSTA Press.
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