Discuss and Evaluate Vygotsky's Theory of Cognitive Development

966 WordsOct 25, 20124 Pages
Discuss Vygotsky’s theory of cognitive development (8+16) Vygotsky proposed that children’s development is affected by their culture and social interaction. He also suggested that children are not born with knowledge but they gain it through their social interactions with peers and adults; he does not rule out the importance of biological processes but proposes an interdependent relationship between biological development alongside social activity and cultural interaction. Since language is our means of communicating cultural knowledge, it is extremely important in this theory. Vygotsky was particularly interested in the relationship between language and thinking processes; he believed language was crucial for cognitive development.…show more content…
If a child has a fairly large ZPD then they may require more help; the ZPD can differ for children as some may be capable of working independently while others may require some support. Vygotsky also introduced ‘scaffolding’, which is the term referred to when parents, teachers and others help a child to acquire knowledge and skills. McNaughton and Leyland (1990) experimented with jigsaws of increasing difficulty; the amount of scaffolding/help mothers gave their children was directly related to the difficulty of the jigsaw. Below the child’s ZPD, the help they received was more like the mothers joining in with the task. A harder jigsaw within the child’s ZPD required more assistance and guidance from the mother until child’s ability improved as they crossed the ZPD. Vygotsky may have overplayed importance on social influences because he suggests that child’s cognitive development occurs through social interactions, for example children do internalisation of problem solving via mutual interactions. However, if social learning is the essence of cognitive development then learning would be a lot faster than it is. Thus Vygotsky ignores the biological aspects that aid or restricts the cognitive development such as the development of brain and maturation. Therefore Piaget’s theory of cognitive development is different to
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