Modelling and Scaffolding

Overview and Reading List

Providing models and scaffolding are two of Barak Rosenshine’s Principles of Instruction. Without modelling, students will struggle to understand what excellence looks like and how to try and achieve it. Without scaffolding, for difficult and challenging tasks, students may struggle to attempt the learning, in a high challenge, low support environment. Scaffolding and modelling allow the expert teacher, to support and stretch the novice learner.

‘4. Provide models: Providing students with models and worked examples can help them to learn to solve problems faster.’ (Rosenshine 2012)

The following from Shaun Allison, co-author of ‘Making Every Lesson Count‘ sums up the importance of modelling for students.

  • It sets a benchmark for excellence, by showing students the quality they should be aspiring to.
  • It makes abstract success criteria concrete.  Simply telling students what the success criteria are, or writing them down can be relatively meaningless for students.  They need to be able to see what they are aiming for.
  • It excavates the thought processes of experts – ‘what to do’ and ‘how to think’ (metacognition).  Modelling our thinking with them, helps them to develop their thinking e.g. by them seeing us overcoming struggles, it makes it OK for them to struggle.
  • It inducts students into academic genres of writing.  Many of our students live in a household where academic language is not routinely used – so we need to model this for them.

Read the whole blog post here – Modelling – how, why and what can go wrong?

This is a superb post by Allison on the importance of modelling and is a must read.


  • Making Every Lesson Count – Shaun Allison and Andy Tharby – chapter 3 on ‘Modelling’
  • Slow Teaching – Jamie Thom – chapter 11 – ‘The Power of Modelling’
  • The Confident Teacher – Alex Quigley – chapter 13 – ‘Successful modelling and metacognition’
  • Mark. Plan. Teach – Ross Morrison McGill – chapter 2 ‘Modelling’
  • Technique 36 – ‘Show Call’ – Teach Like a Champion 2.0 – Doug Lemov
  • How to explain anything to anyone – Andy Tharby
  • Rosenshine’s Principles in Action – Tom Sherrington
  • Teach Like Nobody’s Watching – Mark Enser – chapter 2

Further blog posts on how to improve modelling in your lessons:

Useful video clips:

Latest FHES Teacher Blogs on Modelling and Scaffolding:

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