A general idea for scaffolding

One of the big benefits from GOBLIN training is that it gives you names for things you were already doing, but didn’t have a label for, like ‘scaffolding’. In my course on the Cold War, I originally designed a ‘General Knowledge Quiz’ to weed out unprepared students. The test asked for well known names and ideas that would appear frequently during the course. “Who was the President of the United States during greater part of WW II?” “What does ICBM mean?” Students take the test on the first day of class, and receive a corrected version in the next class. They are then given a week to find the answers to whatever they got wrong before they retake the test. My idea was that, if they scored lower than B on the retake they would be encouraged to leave the course. No-one EVER scored lower than a B on the retake. But I kept the quiz as a way of motivating people, and getting them to start thinking about the personalities, events and ideas that the course would cover. This is a method that could be adopted for many different subjects.

Previously, I had no particular label for what I was doing, but as I went off to give the retake immediately after my first GOBLIN session, I recognized that the whole exercise counts as ‘scaffolding’. Thanks GOBLIN! Incidentally, the answers to the two questions above are: “Ronald Reagan” and “Internal combustion ballistic missile”.

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