Vygotsky Essay

Words: 1965
Pages: 8

Educational Psychology Essay Topic 5:
Explain the Vygotskian notion of the zone of proximal development. Evaluate the efficacy of approaches to teaching and learning [eg. reciprocal teaching, cognitive apprenticeships, and communities of learners] which incorporate this notion.

Many theorists throughout the century have developed concepts that have analysed and explained how a child learns during their schooling years. Educational theorist Lev Vygotsky produced the social development theory of learning. He believed social interaction is the primary cause of cognitive development. He named this the zone of proximal development. There are many approaches to learning in the zone of proximal development such as scaffolding, reciprocal
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There is a creation of dialogue between student and teachers that goes beyond answering questions and engages in the discourse more informally (Driscoll, 1994). Communication is important between master and apprentice and the teacher must learn to properly use proxemics, paralanguage, and kinesics right for the outcomes to be reached. The performances required of the learner are real and important and grow more complex as the learner becomes more competent (Collins, Brown, & Holum, 1991).

Some academics believe that knowledge and skills learned in school have become separated from the everyday world. To compensate for this, many schools have adopted many of the features of apprenticeships. Apprenticeships in schools would focus on cognitive objectives such as reading, writing, problem solving and mathematical problems. There are six main features of cognitive apprenticeships: 1. Students observe an expert model the performance 2. Students get external support through coaching or tutoring 3. Students receive conceptual scaffolding, which is then gradually faded as the student becomes more competent and proficient 4. Students continually articulate their knowledge – putting into words their understanding of the processes and content being learned. 5. Students reflect on their progress, comparing their problem solving to an expert’s performance and to their own earlier performances 6.