8 Tips for Scaffolding an ESL Lesson

8 Tips for Scaffolding an ESL Lesson

Hello friends,

Right now so many new and experienced teachers are creating their lessons and making sure they are reaching and teaching all their students, including their English language learners.  Scaffolding is the magic key to unlocking learning for ELs. A scaffold is an important tool for us to employ when planning our lessons. It provides a support system that helps ELLs learn the language more effectively. Scaffolding also helps students to feel more confident as they learn, and it gives them a sense of progress as they make progress in their language learning.


What is a scaffold?

A scaffold can be a teacher or peer who helps to provide support and guidance to a second language learner. It can be a worksheet, flashcards, or another type of resource that helps to reinforce new language concepts. Scaffolds include conversation guides that help to keep conversations with second language learners on track. A scaffold might be a set of specific instructions that help second language learners complete tasks independently, or listening activity, song, or video that provides contextual support for new language concepts.

Examples of a scaffold…

  • Providing a model sentence or paragraph that demonstrates the usage of the target language concept.
  • Using sentence starters or phrases that students use to generate their own sentences.
  • Offering a translation of the target language concept into the student’s first language.
  • Breaking down the target language concept into smaller, more manageable parts.
  • Providing exercises or activities that allow students to practice using the target language concept.

8 Tips for Scaffolding an ESL Lesson:

1. Start with a clear objective in mind. What do you want your students to be able to do by the end of the lesson?


2. Break learning down into smaller chunks and give students temporary support, structure, and tools to work with each of those chunks.


3. Gradually take away support as students become more independent.


4. Be sure to use a variety of scaffolding techniques that best meet the needs of your students.


5. Check for understanding often and adjust your scaffolding as needed.


6. Encourage student independence and self-regulation as they learn.


7. Celebrate progress along the way!


8. Reflect on your lessons and make adjustments as needed.

Talk with you soon!



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