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Vygotsky: Social Cultural Learning Lev Vygotsky ( 1896-1934)

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1 Vygotsky: Social Cultural Learning Lev Vygotsky ( 1896-1934)

2 Key Parts of Vygotsky’s Social Cultural Learning Theory  The central role of the teacher-student relationship in learning  The inherent cultural and immediate-social influences upon the students attitudes and beliefs towards  The importance and power of language as a primary tool for the transference of socio-cultural influences upon the child  The benefits of student-centered teaching, whereby the student can efficiently progress within their potential towards a learning outcome

3 In Vygotsky’s Social Cultural Learning Theory, student learning is not viewed as a simple process of information transfer from a source. Instead, student learning is viewed as an active social interaction in which a student constructs knowledge through discovery and experiment.

4 Vygotsky gives particular attention to the inter-relationships between macro-social (i.e. cultural-historical) and micro-social (i.e. interpersonal) influences on cognitive development.

5 External social forces are viewed as important in the learner’s development. Vygotsky considers important the broader socio- cultural and historical influences on learning and the learning environment.

6 Culture is an important part of Social Cultural Learning Theory According to Vygotsky, culture is viewed as socially accepted behaviors, attitudes and beliefs, and is constructed through human societal products such as institutions, symbol systems and tools such as language.

7 Humans are not only producing culture, but are also products of culture themselves. Language is considered to be the principal proponent of culture.

8 Language is seen as the tool of culture which enables social interaction, and thus the direction of behavior and attitudes, and indeed the propagation and development of culture itself.

9 Zone of proximal development (ZPD) Zone of proximal development (ZPD) defines the difference between the child’s independent learning accomplishments, and accomplishments under the guidance of a person who is more competent at the specific task at hand.

10 ZPD Continued Vygotsky particularly viewed adults, rather than peers, as important because adults are more than likely to be truly competent in the task, and thus less likely to cause regression in the collaboration. ZPD gives importance to the student-centered basis of education, and suggests that the individual progression towards an overall learning outcome will be dictated by the guided and subjective accomplishments of intermediate (proximal) outcomes.

11 Importance of Scaffolding in Social Cultural Learning Theory  Teacher support, which is graduated and task- apportioned based on student needs, has been commonly referred to as scaffolding.  Scaffolding includes strong initial teacher support and is gradually reduced as the student approaches the desired learning outcome.

12 Educational Implications of Vygotsky’s Theory  Teachers need to continuously evaluate how effectively a student is progressing in a learning activity and respond accordingly with modified tasks or intermediary learning objectives.  Students should be given frequent opportunities to express understanding, and learning tasks fine-tuned by the teacher to address individual capabilities.

13 Reference Alpay, E. (n.d.). The contribution of Vygotsky’s theory to our understanding of the relation between the social world and cognitive development. Retrieved from syched_5.pdf

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