Scaffolding has a set of associations, thereby inviting an aspiration of development from the first in the set towards the last.
1. Someone starts with a final structure in mind and provide the workers (or students) a safe scaffolding they use to complete the structure (or students come to understand the ideas and be proficient in the practices).
2. Someone starts with a structure already in place and provides a secure scaffolding (base) for the workers (students, mentee, “coach-ee”) to renovate (innovate, re-narrate) so as to modify that structure (in education: “private universes“, Taking Yourself Seriously).
3. Someone (or someones) has (have) a synergistic cooperative or collaborative situation in mind—drawn from past experience and current understanding—and provides scaffolding to more than one group of workers (potential cooperators) to lead them towards a place where, if and when the groups meet, their interaction creates more than the sum of the parts. That is, like two sides of a bridge joining in a stable arch, the resulting situation is something no group could provide for itself (see strategic participatory planning)
4. Like in tissue engineering, someone provides a matrix or scaffold and seeds it with “cells” that then grow in interaction with the matrix— perhaps dissolving the matrix—and eventually in interaction with other groups of cells to form a situation—the “tissue”—that is a dynamic structure—not something that can insert itself (or be inserted) into in a larger context or dynamic structure—the “body”—and generate possibilities not present in the matrix, the cells, the groups of cells, or the larger context into which the new structure is inserted.
5. Like the maintenance of our bones, a dynamic structure has components that are constantly replenished with new components in a way that maintains its integrity as a structure, but adapts to changes in its contexts (like new stresses strengthening bones or, as for astronauts, weakening them) and in turn, generating possibilities (innovations/renovations), not seen or experienced before.