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Presented by Vanessa W. Chang

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1 Presented by Vanessa W. Chang
Scaffolding Children’s Learning: Vygotsky and Early Childhood Education Laura E. Berk and Adam Winsler Presented by Vanessa W. Chang

2 Chapter 1: Vygotsky: His Life and Works
Lev Semenovich Vygotsky ( ) Born in Orsha, Byelorussia Developed sociocultural approach: “an attempt to understand how social and cultural influences affect children’s development” p. 4 “Troika” of Vygotskian school of thought: Vygotsky, A.R. Luria and A.N. Leont’ev Influenced by Marxist ideals: created Marxist theory of psych. and child development Born middle-class Jewish family in Orsha, Byelorussia Studied law at Moscow University, and simultaneously attended Shaniavsky People’s Univ., an “unofficial” institution formed by expelled Moscow profs, who were anti-czarist

3 Vygotsky’s Major Works
The Psychology of Art, 1925 Consciousness as a problem in the Psychology of Behavior, 1925 Educational Psychology, 1926 Historical meaning of the crisis in Psychology, 1927 The Socialist alteration of Man, 1930 Primitive Man and his Behavior, c. 1930 Mind and Society, 1930 Adolescent Pedagogy, 1931 Play and its role in the Mental development of the Child, 1933 Thinking and Speech, 1934 ‘Educational Psychology’ textbook for future teachers (summarized what was known about psychological principles relevant to education): includes role of education in society, language development, mental testing, functioning of nervous system, Pavlovian classical conditioning ‘Thinking and Speech’ includes basics of Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory Reasons why Vygotsky’s theories slow to be learned about in U.S.: 1. short life, not enough time to develop ideas, but these were elaborated on by many scholars, including Luria and Leont’ev 2. Economy poor, V’s works not widely printed and circulated 3. V’s works banned by Stalin regime because of Marxist beliefs, V seen as threat. Ban lifted in 1953, translations started after Cold War, but V’s work still slow to emerge in U.S. because of Piaget’s extreme popularity

4 Socially shared cognition
Chapter 2: Vygotsky’s Approach to Development: The Social Origins of Individual Mental Functioning Socially shared cognition “[H]umans are inherently social and communicative beings” p.13 Social Embeddedness of Cognitive Skills: Social Interaction (example: conservation of liquid problem) Social Embeddedness of Cognitive Skills: Task and Setting Conditions (children’s learning is contextualized) Social Engagement as a Stimulus for Cognitive Development: Piaget: conflict between peers promoted cognitive restructuring Vygotsky: not who (adult-child or child-child) but how children engage in joint activity important to cognitive development. “When adults fail to recognize that children can easily be misled by the nature of their questioning, they are likely to underestimate children’s knowledge and skills.” p. 15 Conservation of liquid pb: researchers found that how something is presented to child makes great difference in their performance: on one or two question conservation pb, 78% children conserved w/one question, and only 28% conserved in two question situation.

5 The Importance of Language
“All higher mental functions--those that are unique to human beings--are initially created through collaborative activity; only later do they become internal mental processes.” p. 20 Mediation through Signs: Vygotsky’s views: Signs are critical link between social and psychological planes of functioning. Signs are socially generated, not biologically given or individually constructed. Internalization: A.k.a. “appropriation” (Rogoff): children choose from cultural tools encountered during social collaboration to fit goals.

6 The Zone of Proximal Development
The ZPD: “[T]he distance between the actual developmental level as determined by independent problem solving and the level of potential development as determined through problem solving under adult guidance or in collaboration with more capable peers.” p.26

7 The ZPD ZPD originally introduced in context of arguing against tests of standard intelligence and achievement. Vygotsky saw standardized tests as limited, only measuring “static” knowledge, whereas a child’s potential is much greater, and human cognition is dynamic and ever-changing. According to Vygotsky, the role of education is to provide children with activities and experiences in their ZPDs, challenging them, but allowing eventual success with sensitive adult or capable peer guidance. In educating children, it is important to give them tasks slightly above their current levels or abilities to inspire them to reach for the next level.

8 Scaffolding Scaffolding: “a changing level of support in which assistance is adjusted to fit child’s current abilities and needs. Fosters child’s autonomy and mastery skills.” p. 171 Goals: Joint Problem Solving: socially shared cognition Intersubjectivity: two participants who begin a task with different understandings arrive at a shared understanding. Learning takes place with shared understanding. Warmth and Responsiveness:emotional tone of guidance is important. Children learn more when they are supported and encouraged to do so. Important for adult to be engaged in process. Keeping the Child in the ZPD: Structure task and surrounding environment. Adjust amount of adult intervention to child’s needs (not too much or too little). Promoting Self-Regulation:Requires adult to relinquish control and assistance as soon as child is able to work independently. The zone of executive function.

9 Scaffolding Adult “distancing strategies”: Research on Scaffolding:
Low-level (ref to objects and events in immediate environment) Medium-level (comparing, contrasting, relating) High-level (elaboration of ideas, concepts) Research on Scaffolding: Study of 3-year olds in mother-child collaboration on classification and story-sequencing indicates that the more mothers praised children, the better they performed when working on the task by themselves. Authoritative parenting (as opposed to “authoritarian” or “permissive” parenting) : a “democratic approach” which encourages independence within limits negotiated between parent and child. Note on Scaffolding: Can be positive mode of interaction with children, but perhaps needs elaboration and modification at times--in past, too much emphasis on instructional component and goals. Cultural context of scaffolding limited to Western cultures, further study needed.

10 Children’s Private Speech
“In talking to themselves, children build a bridge between their social and psychological worlds as they strive to become competent, autonomous beings.” p. 49

11 Views on Children’s Private Speech
Piaget’s Views 3 types of private speech: repetition (syllables and sounds) monologues (verbal soliloquies) collective monologues (soliloquies in presence of others) Viewed private speech as “egocentric”, “ineffectual social speech” Vygotsky’s Views Critical of Piaget’s findings, Vygotsky countered: Children use private speech more often when working on difficult tasks A pattern to private speech: peaks at middle to end of preschool years Private speech does not become more social with age, it is internalized. The more opportunities for social interactions, the more private speech occurs. Social and private speech go together. Vygotsky saw children’s private speech as communication with the self, and a form of self-regulation. V’s views on private speech supported by current research and preferred over Piaget’s at present.

12 Varieties of Children’s Private Speech:
Egocentric Communication Fantasy Play Emotional Release Describing One’s Own Activity Reading Aloud Inaudible Muttering

13 How does scaffolding promote private speech in children?
With an adult to regulate the difficulty of a task, the child stays in the ZPD (challenged, but still motivated) Scaffolding can bring a task to the verbal level, and language becomes a key problem solving tool Through scaffolding, children can learn self-regulation skills.

14 Chapter 3: Play in Vygotsky’s Theory
“[P]lay creates a zone of proximal development in the child. In play, the child always behaves beyond his average age, above his daily behavior; in play it is as thought he were a head taller than himself. As in the focus of a magnifying glass, play contains all developmental tendencies in a condensed form and is itself a major source of development.” (Vygotsky) Although Vygotsky only touched briefly on the topic of play, his ideas are considered to be significant and innovative contributions to studies of this area of child development.

15 Development and Significance of Play
Vygotsky: “Wherever there is an imaginary situation, there are rules.” Play creates an imaginary situation that permits the child to grapple with unrealized desires (delayed gratification as compares with immediate gratification typical in behavior and treatment of infants) Play contains rules for behavior (even the most simple of creatiive play situations includes social rules) Make-believe supports a child’s ability to separate thoughts from actions and objects (a wooden block becomes an ice-cream cone), and supports the capacity of the child to renounce impulsive actions in favor of deliberate and self-regulatory activity.

16 Impact of Imaginative Play on Development
General Cognitive and Social Skills: Studies show that imaginative play can enhance cognitive abilities. Memory: List-like and narrative memory enhanced through fantasy (research on acting out a story heard in class) Language Many areas of conversational dialogue used in play Reasoning Creative play can allow for flexibility in thinking, imagination stretches logical skills. The Boundary Between Appearance and Reality Practice in transforming real objects or experiences into pretend gives children opportunities to distinguish between appearance and reality.

17 Scaffolding Children’s Play
Play occurs with children and their peers and also with children and adults. Mothers/primary caregivers are children’s first “collaborators” in play, and are highlighted until around age 3. Adult-child play can be beneficial, but the adult must be sure not to take over the play. Allow child room to be in ZPD. Peer play becomes prominent as child enters school and interacts with other children. Intersubjectivity and shared understanding are required for peer play.

18 Chapter 4: Children with Serious Learning and Behavior Problems
Vygotsky’s Approach to Children with Special Needs Vygotsky believed that the original disability of child is not so much a problem as the way the disability alters the way the child can participate in sociocultural activities Lack of participation in these activiities can hinder development of higher mental functions, such as self-regulation. It is most important for children with learning and behavior problems to improve social interactions with adults and peers. Vygotsky can be considered an early advocate of mainstreaming and inclusion in early childhood education.

19 Children with Sensory Deficits: the case of deaf children
Vygotsky viewed blind and deaf children as having particularly challenging situations, as language is so important to social interactions. Example: deaf children with deaf parents vs. deaf children with hearing parents Sign language Studies show that deaf children of deaf parents resemble hearing children of hearing parents in rate of language acquisition and development. Also, quality of interactions similar among both groups--scaffolding and reciprocity of communication. Deaf children of hearing parents indicate different results: parents tend to be less positive in interactions, less effective at achieving joint attention, intersubjectivity, less sensitive to child’s cues and more directive and controlling. The difference is in the treatment of the child.

20 Children with Self-Regulatory Problems
Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD): In line with Vygotsky’s sociocultural perspective, ADHD can be seen as problem involving self-regulation. Application of Vygotsky’s theory began in 1960s (self-instructional training) for impulsive/hyperactive children, teaching children private speech in hopes to form self-regulation skills Results disappointing, task specific if anything Self-instructional training grounded in behaviorism, regarding development as externally motivated by modeling and reinforcement. Idea of self-instructional training to teach children how to have private speech.

21 Adult-Child communication and children with ADHD
ADHD: studies show evidence of biological and environmental factors Parenting not found to be primary cause of ADHD, but adult-child interactions can reinforce behavior Studies on parent-child interactions and children’s private speech with children with ADHD: Children used more private speech in working on problem with experimenter than with parents, who tended to control actions of child

22 Private Speech of Children with Self-Regulatory Problems
Studies show: Children with self-regulatory problems (hyperactivity, impulsive behavior) tend to use more overt, vocal private speech than their peers without behavior issues In addition to using more task-relevant private speech ADHD children tend to use more irrelevant and off-task comments Children with ADHD use fewer internalized forms of self-speech than peers Private speech of ADHD children less strongly related to task than private speech of peers who don’t have ADHD

23 Enhancing Educational Environments for Children with Serious Learning and Behavior Problems
How do we meet the educational needs of all children, including those who have serious learning and behavior issues? In the case of children with ADHD and similar problems, scaffolding is important, and not often used with ADHD children Specific directive efforts: expectations clear and highly consistent, follow through and praise all shown to improve child’s behavior and strengthen child’s self-esteem. All adult-child interactions need to be worked on (parents, teachers, etc.): scaffolding, working in the child’s ZPD and giving opportunities to develop and practice the skills necessary in sociocultural context. Children with ADHD less likely to participate in scaffolding because of high stress their behavior can bring to adult-child interactions (the problem is seen instead of the child). As Vygotsky’s theories support, we need to see what the child can do, rather than what he or she cannot do.

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