Scaffolding the Learner: A Theoretical, Practical, and Linguistic Model for Progressing Experiences in Natural Settings

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Learning experiences frequently take place in natural settings (offices, clinics, schools) for students as well as new employees. Supervisors often find it difficult to plan for these learning experiences due to the unpredictable nature of work environments. In fact, the most salient challenge for supervisors is providing a sufficiently organized progression of experiences to substantiate student progress. Before suggesting a systematic planning process, the authors explore expectations for teaching behaviors and student progress. The example provided is physical therapy supervision within a clinical setting. The authors then posit a theoretical, practical, and linguistic model to plan teaching-learning experiences. The model facilitates increased independence, the ability to handle increasingly complex cases, and consistent, efficient performance. Particular emphasis is given to language cues designed to assist learners toward independent practice. In fact, social interaction between supervisor and learner is the cornerstone of the model. The model also assists the supervisor in identifying learner strengths and areas for additional support. Preliminary outcomes based on implementation of the model in clinical settings will be discussed. In summary, the model is adaptable to various settings and time frames, allowing supervisors to remain intellectually engaged with the learner while practically engaged in day-to-day activities.


Keywords: Educational Planning, Progressing Student Learning, Linguistic Strategies, Experiential Learning
Stream: Education and Social Welfare
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: , Scaffolding the Learner


Suzanne Giuffre

Assistant Professor, Department of Physical Therapy
Bitonte College of Health and Human Services, Youngstown State University

Youngstown, Ohio, USA

Licensed physical therapist and assistant professor of physical therapy in a graduate program. Serve as the Academic Coordinator for Clinical Education, placing students in various clinical sites nationwide for practice and assessment of knowledge, skills, and professional behaviors. Offer credentialing courses for clinical instructors in the region. Completing Ph.D. in Higher Education Administration, with an emphasis on the preparation of department chairpersons and their perceptions of professional development needs. Board specialist in pediatrics with research on motor development in children with autism.

Marleen Iannucci

Associate Professor, Department of Physical Therapy
Bitonte College of Health and Human Services, Youngstown State University

Youngstown, Ohio, USA


Ref: I08P0294