Profile | Overview | Full
|Module 1: The developing person
Section 2 Human development
ideas | Private speech | Zone
of proximal development | Scaffolding | Educational
A current theory of cognitive development
is Vygotsky’s Sociocultural theory. If you recall, section one introduced
this theory and provided you with some general background information on
Vygotsky’s work. You may wish
to go back and review this section now.
of cognitive development
Zone of proximal
the child is viewed as an active seeker of
the child and environment interact together
enabling cognitive development in a culturally adaptive way;
the mind is perceived to be socially constructed;
the child is born with basic attentional,
perceptual and memory capacities;
development occurs as a direct result of contact
with the environment;
child as self communicator – leads to higher
language and thought develop independently,
but eventually merge and interact.
Vygotsky believed that in order to learn children
must speak to themselves in a self guiding and directing way- initially
aloud and later internally. He believed that as children develop
and become more competent in a particular area, they begin to internalise
this speech and gradually decrease its use. Vygotsky believed that
private speech is the foundation for all higher order thinking processes.
Just as we see children talking themselves
through learning tasks on a daily basis, we too use forms of private speech
in our daily lives. How many times have you spoken these words aloud
“Now where did I put the car keys”…., “Now I must remember to…..” Vygotsky
believed that children's use of such talk in daily learning tasks was particularly
significant in working with difficult concepts and in teaching children
Do you agree with Vygotsky’s view? How
do you think these principles may be applied?
of proximal development
If you recall from our earlier discussion,
it was stated that Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory discusses cognitive
development as dependent on interaction with adults. Key to this
social interaction is the notion of the Zone of Proximal Development.
The zone of proximal development refers to the tasks a child is unable
to complete alone, but is able to complete with the assistance of an adult.
That is the teacher pitches a learning experience for a specific child
at a level just beyond his/her current level of performance. In doing this,
the child and the teacher engage in cooperative dialogues to enhance learning
that the child is able to recall privately when completing a similar task/activity
independently. Therefore the child takes in the discussion of the task/activity
and uses it as private speech on later occasions.
Vygotsky’s notion of scaffolding directly
relates to his notions of Private Speech and the Zone of Proximal Development.
In order for a child to learn new concepts or skills the teacher must provide
scaffolds for the learning experience. These scaffolds refer to the
changes in social support over the teaching of a concept. Scaffolding
is directly linked to the personal needs of the individual. Like
scaffolding on a building, supports are withdrawn as individual competence
develops. Scaffolding may include physical presence and prompts along
with more specific metacognitive strategies.
Child as an active participant in the learning
Importance of individual difference.
Assist children in discovery.
Teachers should guide learning through explanation,
demonstration and verbal prompts.
Tailor lessons to each child's zone of proximal
Early childhood – promote teacher/child and
Promote fantasy play.
Within the learning environment focus on literacy
Use prompts, reminders, increase independence,
give information, use cooperative learning and reciprocal teaching strategies.
|Stop and think
Post a response on the forum
Select a skill that you are attempting to
develop at present – for example the use of Bloom's Taxonomy in the special
education context (it may be related to your teaching, or it may be personal).
Map your zone of proximal development for
this skill. Include your current level of performance, the level
of attainment you intend to reach and how you intend to get there.
Consider any aides that may assist your achievement
of this goal and the barriers that may impede your development in this
You may wish to post this activity on the
web for further discussion.