Encyclopedia of Mathematics Education

Living Edition
| Editors: Steve Lerman

Scaffolding in Mathematics Education

  • Bert van OersEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-77487-9_136-2


Scaffolding is generally conceived as an interactional process between a person with educational intentions and a learner, aiming to support this learner’s learning process by giving appropriate and temporary help. Scaffolding in mathematics education is the enactment of this purposive interaction for the learning of mathematical actions and problem solving strategies.

A number of clarifying corollary postulates are usually added for the completion of this general definition of scaffolding in a specific situation:
  • Scaffolding is an intentional support system based on purposive interactions with more competent others, which can be adults or peers; the support can be individualized (one teacher scaffolding one student) or collective (a group scaffolding its members in a distributed way).

  • The support consists of employing instructional means that are supposed to help learners with the accomplishment of a new (mathematical) task by assisting him/her to carry out the required...


Support system Help Zone of proximal development Educative strategy 
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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Behavioural and Human Movement Sciences, Department Research and Theory in EducationVU University AmsterdamAmsterdamThe Netherlands

Section editors and affiliations

  • Yoshinori Shimizu
    • 1
  1. 1.University of TsukubaGraduate School of Comprehensive Human ScienceTsukuba-shiJapan