Lev Vygotsky Theory Summary: Lev Vygotsky (1896-1934) was a Russian developmental psychologist who did a lot of work on cognitive development. His work serves as foundation for research in cognitive development. His work is often termed as socio-cultural theory because he emphasized the cultural and social impacts on cognitive development of human. Vygotsky thought that culture is the main determinant of cognitive development and learning lead it. (Feldman, 2010).
Vygotsky thought that social interactions result in cognitive developments. For example, when kids interact with others, they’ve to take decisions and solve problems. They learn it from others and it increases their cognitive abilities. He thought that there are two levels in learning something. First one is interaction with others (inter-psychological) and second one is interaction with own self (intra-psychological). (Vygotsky, Hanfmann, & Vakar, 1962)
Vygotsky proposed another key idea which is called as zone of proximal development. He suggested that cognitive abilities of children increase if they are exposed to intriguing information. ZPD is the range of tasks which child can’t learn alone but can learn from others. This concept differentiates between what a child can learn independently and what a child can learn from adults or other skilled children. Scaffolding is another related concept. It is the temporary help or assistance provided by others to the kid until kid can do that task alone. (Sigelman & Rider, 2008)
Lisa Freund conducted a research in 1990 to support ZPD concept of Vygotsky. Children were given a problem where they have to decide how to decorate furniture in dolls house. Few kids were allowed to do this activity with their mothers before they try it alone (ZPD). This experiment concluded that kids who did this activity with their mothers and then tried again alone, showed huge improvement as compared to those who tried it for the first time by themselves. This study showed that learning with ZPD resulted in better performance as compared to learning alone. (Freund, 1990).
Although Vygotsky died eight decades ago, still his work has become more influential. His socio-cultural theory is popular among researchers. Now people are recognizing the importance of cultural factors in cognitive development. He was one of the first who realized this and now others are following his footsteps.
Lev Vygotsky Theory Summary Explanation
My selected topic is Lev Vygotsky theory. Vygotsky suggested that culture and social background play a huge role in cognitive development of children. First image shows interaction of a baby with his mother. Second image shows that mother is helping her kid in walking. That kid is going to learn to walk with the help of her mother. This is the interaction of the kid with her mother which is the reason behind his learning. Third image is Vygotsky himself. Fourth image is related with the concept of zone of proximal development which was presented by Vygotsky. ZPD is the range of tasks which child can’t learn alone but can learn from others.This concept differentiates between what a child can learn independently and what a child can learn from adults or other skilled children.
Next image shows the concept of scaffolding. Help of adult or skilled kid is considered as scaffolding. In next images, we can see a girl riding a bicycle alone and another boy riding the bicycle with the help of his father. These images show that outer environment is also very important for kid’s learning process. ZPD suggest that boy who is learning to ride bicycle with the help of his father is going to be a better rider as compare to the girl. Kid who is helped by his father in learning is going to perform better in class as compare to the kids who try to learn by themselves. Next image shows how much teenagers rely on cell phone for interacting with others. And last image shows that kids see their elders as role models. They can learn good and bad habits from their peers.
- Feldman, R. S. (2010). Life Span Development: A Topical Approach. Pearson Publishers.
- Freund, L. S. (1990). Matemal Regulation of Children’s Problem-solving Behavior and Its Impact on Children’s Performance.
- Sigelman, C. K., & Rider, E. A. (2008). Life-Span Human Development. Wadsworth Publishing.
- Vygotsky, L., Hanfmann, E., & Vakar, G. (1962). Thought and Language.