Scaffolding what, why and how? A critical thematic review study of descriptions, goals, and means of language scaffolding in bilingual contexts
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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In bilingual education ‘scaffolding’ is used to describe support that allows learners to engage with content in a language they only partially know. Much remains unclear about the ways scaffolding is conceptualized in bilingual education research. This critical thematic review uses Van de Pol et al.’s (2010) distinction between scaffolding goals and means, as well as their characteristics of scaffolding to synthesize the various forms that scaffolding of language takes in the teaching practice of subject teachers teaching in bilingual secondary education contexts. Six characteristics of scaffolding were identified. Although ‘contingency’ has the status of necessary condition in recent literature on scaffolding in broader educational research contexts, this is not the case in bilingual education research. The review identified six means and four goals of scaffolding and suggests that there is a hierarchy of language scaffolding goals where focusing on disciplinary literacy presupposes a focus on content and language.