Lev Vygotsky Sociocultural Theory and the Zone of Proximal Development

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Vygotsky focused on Cognitive Development and “according to Vygotsky, humans use tools that develop from a culture, such as speech and writing, to mediate their social environments. Initially children develop these tools to serve solely as social functions, ways to communicate needs. Vygotsky believed that the internalization of these tools led to higher thinking skills” (Learning Theories Knowledgebase). Vygotsky's theories of Sociocultural and Zone of Proximal Development are dominantly demonstrated in the classroom as well as seen in everyday situations. By using scaffolding, people are able to build upon skills that they already posses with a little help from people around them. Then when that person has mastered the task you can take the scaffolding away and they should be able to do the task on their own with out any assistance. Throughout this paper you will learn about the Sociocultural Theory, the Zone of Proximal Development, how these two theories are related to experiences that happen within the classroom, the criticisms of Vygotsky and his two theories and finally how these two theories relate to experiences that happen outside of the classroom. Sociocultural Theory: Lev Vygotsky focuses on cognitive development and bases his theories on a sociocultural aspect. His Sociocultural theory is a learning theory that looks at the important contributions society and culture play in an individual’s development. He believes that everyone learns on two levels: first through interactions with others, and then within the individual themselves. Once an individual can learn and acquire concepts with the guidance of other individuals, they will then be able to perform independently. (Cognitive Development - Vygotsky's Sociocultural Theory ) Culture is passed on by three ways; one through imitative learning – the child tries to imitate or copy another
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