Vygotsky Essay

1960 Words Mar 6th, 2013 8 Pages
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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We know that the leaner cannot complete the task independently but has enough knowledge to master the problem with the help from a mathematics teacher. The learner is in the zone of proximal development and will be able to benefit from the scaffolding, in the form of explaining, demonstrating and guiding by the teacher. While doing this, teachers look for discrepancies between student’s effort and the solution they come up with. They are looking to control the frustration and risk that the student encounters. Also they model an idealised version of the act of learning so the learner can use it to help them solve their educational problems (Hausfather, 1996). The key to getting students to help themselves learn independently is not to make the students reinvent information or rediscover it themselves. The teacher must make the information available for the learner to examine and work out their own ideas and solutions whilst allowing them to be open to advice from people who are more informed on the subject. So although scaffolding is an extremely helpful tool for teachers to use in their teaching and their student’s learning, they must make sure that the child is educated in the right approach so as not to deter the child from making advances on their own educational capabilities.

Cognitive apprenticeships have proved very useful over the centuries as an effective form of education. The bond that is formed between master
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