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Learning Theory: Vygotsky

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1 Learning Theory: Vygotsky
EDUC613 Kerri Hayes, Lucas Scharmer, Jean Wheeler, Ashley Williams

2 “Lev Vygotsky is considered a seminal thinker in psychology, and much of his work is still being discovered and explored today.” Lev Vygotsky He was a Russian psychologist who was born November 17, 1896 He attended Moscow State University and he graduated with a degree in law in 1917. He studied a variety of subjects which included sociology, linguistics, psychology and philosophy. In 1924 he attended the Institute of Psychology in Moscow where he formally began his work in psychology. He did collaborative work with Alexei Leontiev and Alexander Luria. He was an inspired writer, publishing six books on psychology topics within the course of a ten year period. His books focused on topics such as child development and education. He also researched other topics like the psychology of art and language development. Some of his most renowned theories included: Zone of Proximal Development Sociocultural Theory He died tragically at a young age due to tuberculosis on June 11, He was only 38 years old. (Cherry)

3 Psychology of Play “A child’s greatest achievements are possible in play, achievements that tomorrow will become her basic level of real action.” – Vygotsky (Leong & Badrova, 2012)

4 Social Learning “knowing how” based on observations and participation in a culture/society (ex. Riding a bike, using a pencil) Cultural Mediation Internalization Language + Interactions ___________ Development Language (whether private speech or oral language) demonstrates a relationship to thought (cognitive awareness). Language is a tool for further development. Social interactions with others supports language and development.

5 Social Learning cont’d
Social Interaction Parents Teachers Siblings Classmates Objects

6 Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD)
Developed by Vygotsky as a guide to show what learners can do without help and what they can do with help. Children follow the examples of adults and capable peers. They gradually attain the ability to do certain tasks through learning and observing adults and capable peers. Vygotsky’s definition of ZPD is, “the 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.” (Culatta, 2011)

7 Scaffolding Vygotsky defined scaffolding instruction as the “role of teachers and others in supporting the learner’s development and providing support structures to get to that next stage or level” (Raymond, 2000, p. 176). Scaffolding is the support and process by which a teacher mediates a child’s attempt to take on new learning concepts. The support given during the learning process is tailored to meet the needs of the student where they are. The intention of this process is to gradually help the student achieve an independent level. When scaffolding, teachers start by introducing concepts that are a little above where the student may be. As a student internalizes the concepts, the teacher modifies the instruction and eventually, removes the concepts according to the needs of the learner. A child develops his or her intellect through internalizing concepts based his or her own interpretation of an activity that occurs in a social setting. The communication that occurs in this setting with more knowledgeable or capable others (parents, teachers, peers, others) helps the child construct an understanding of the concept (Bransford, Brown, & Cocking, 2000).

8 Classroom Connections
Jean: Collaborative Group Still Life: Each table works together to create a still life and then each student draws the still life they collaborated on.

9 Classroom Connections
Lucas: I use ZPD as I teach, show, and then do style of instruction. Students are instructed about how a certain skill is done, then they are shown how it is done, then they practice it themselves.

10 Classroom Connections
Kerri: My students work cooperatively during most subjects each day – playing math games, buddy reading, peer conferencing during writer’s workshop, etc. Also, I scaffold students understanding based on their individual needs during reading groups or guided math. Students have opportunities to play and interact during recess and brain breaks, during which they allow their imaginations to open up their world to new possibilities.

11 Classroom Connections
Ashley: Think Aloud, Activate Prior Knowledge, Give Time to Talk, Pre-Teach Vocabulary, Use Visual Aids/Graphic Organizers, Question Answering and Cooperative Learning Groups

12 References Bransford, B., Brown, L., & Cocking, E. (2000). Scaffolding. Cherry, K. Lev vygotsky biography. Retrieved from Culatta, R. (2011). Zone of proximal development. Retrieved from of-proximal-development.html Instructional scaffolding. Retrieved from Leong, D. J. & Bodrova, E. (2012). Pioneers in our field: Lev vygotsky – playing to learn. Retrieved from Lev vygotsky. Retrieved from Raymond, E (2000). Scaffolding as a Teaching Strategy - CONDOR at CCNY Retrieved from

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