Sociocultural theory of Lev Vygotsky

In what direction and to what extent can culture and society influence cognitive development children? Is there any relationship between cognitive development and the complex collaborative process that adults lead in the education and learning (specific and general) that children receive?

Likewise, what are the main implications of Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory for education and cognitive assessment of children?

Sociocultural theory of Lev Vygotsky

Sociocultural theory de Vygotsky emphasizes the proactive participation of minors in the environment around them, being the cognitive development fruit of a collaborative process. Lev Vygotsky (Russia, 1896-1934) argued that children develop their learning through social interaction: they acquire new and better cognitive skills as a logical process of immersion in a way of life.

These activities carried out in a shared way allow children to internalize the structures of thought and behavior of the society around them., Appropriate them.

Learning and “Zone of proximal development”

According to Vygotsky’s socio-cultural theory, the role of adults or more advanced peers is to support, direct and organize the child’s learning, in the stage before he can master these facets, having internalized the structures behavioral and cognitive that the activity requires. These tips are the most effective in helping children move through the developmental zone. proximal (ZDP), Which we could understand as the gap between what they are already able to do and what they still cannot achieve on their own.

Children who are in the ZDP for a specific task are on the verge of being able to do it on their own, but they still need to incorporate some key thinking. However, with the proper support and guidance, if they are able to complete the task successfully. As long as collaboration, supervision and responsibility for learning are covered, the child makes adequate progress in forming and consolidating new knowledge and learning.

The scaffolding metaphor

There are several adherents of Vygotsky’s socio-cultural theory (for example: Wood, 1980; Bruner and Ross, 1976) who have referred to the metaphor of ‘scaffolding“To refer to this way of learning. the Bastida it consists of the temporary accompaniment of adults (teachers, parents, guardians …) who provide the child with the goal of accomplishing a task until the child is able to do it without outside help.

One of the researchers based on the theories developed by Lev Vygotsky, Gail RossHe practically studied the process of scaffolding in children’s learning. Teaching children ages three to five, Ross used several resources. She controlled and was at the center of the sessions, and used slow, dramatized presentations to students to show that accomplishment of the task was possible. Dr. Ross therefore became tasked with anticipating everything that was to happen. He controlled all the parts of the task in which the children worked to a degree of complexity and magnitude commensurate with each other’s previous skills.

The way in which he presented the tools or objects that were the object of the learning it allowed the children to discover how to solve and perform the task on their own, more effectively than if they had only been told how to fix it. It is in this sense that Vygotsky’s socio-cultural theory points to the “zone” that exists between what people can understand when they are shown something in front of them, and what they can generate autonomously. This area is the Near Development Zone or ZDP that we previously mentioned (Bruner, 1888).

Sociocultural theory: in context

Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory has transcendent implications for the education and assessment of cognitive development. ZDP-based tests, which emphasize the child’s potential, represent an invaluable alternative to standardized intelligence tests, which often emphasize the knowledge and learning already achieved by the child. So many children benefit from support sociocultural and open that Vygotsky developed.

Another of the fundamental contributions of the contextual perspective has been the emphasis on the social aspect of development. This theory argues that the normal development of children in a culture or group belonging to a culture may not be an appropriate (and therefore not extrapolable) standard for children of other cultures or societies.

  • We recommend that you read: “Erikson’s Theory of Psychosocial Development”

Bibliographical references:

  • Daniels, H. (ed.) (1996). An introduction to Vygotsky, London: Routledge.
  • Van der Veer, R. and Valsiner, J. (eds) (1994). The Vygotsky reader. Oxford: Blackwell.
  • Yasnitsky, A., van der Veer, R., Aguilar, E. and García, LN (Eds.) (2016). Vygotsky Revisited: A Critical History of its Context and Legacy. Buenos Aires: Publishers Miño and Davila.

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