The Sociocultural Theory Essay

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The sociocultural theory was developed by a theorist named Lev Vygotsky. Vygotsky was born in 1896 and was from the former Soviet Union. He was a psychologist who had an abundance of ideas and put them into many theories and writings. Although Vygotsky died from tuberculosis at the young age of thirty-eight, his most prominent work was done in a short period of ten years. When he died in 1934, the Soviet Union held most of his work and it was not until about 1960 that his work was translated into English. Currently in the education field, Vygotsky’s main work on the sociocultural theory is getting a lot of attention. Vygotsky believed that during the early stages of life as infants, language (nonconceptual speech) and thinking…show more content…
In this theory, Vygotsky suggests the idea of scaffolding from external influences, including parents and teachers. To scaffold is “to use language and social interaction to guide children’s thinking” (Trawick-Smith, 2010, p.53). The key to do this properly, is to know how much or how little guidance to give the children. Vygotsky breaks the difficulty level of the task being performed by the child into three levels of difficulty and the amount of assistance needed. The first stage is the lowest level of difficulty where no assistance is needed from an external influence. The task that the child is trying to perform is easy enough that he or she can perform it on their own individually. In this stage, there is little intellectual development or knowledge obtained. The third stage is the highest level of difficulty where a child cannot execute a task because it is too difficult. This stage requires complete assistance from a parent or teacher to execute the task for the child. The middle stage is key to intellectual development and to Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory. The middle stage is where the difficulty level of a task is just above the child’s abilities. Situations in this stage are known as the zone of proximal development. According to Vygotsky and the sociocultural theory, during this stage is where there is the most potential for intellectual development and learning. Parents or teachers should indirectly assist the children in completing the task.
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