Sociocultural Theory Essay

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Assignment 2: Critical review of a developmental theory and its relevance to teaching Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky (1896-1934), began his work when he was studying development and learning to expand his own teaching. He has training in many fields such as law, philosophy, literature, history and education. His work was profoundly influenced by Karl Marx’s theory, that an individual’s cognitive ability and actions are developed according to history and the changes in society. He recognised that social interactions and language are two crucial factors in cognitive development and hence developed his sociocultural theory. This theory of development highlights the vital influence that language and social interactions, embedded within a cultural context have on cognitive development. A child’s sociocultural background and the society in which the child lives and is influenced needs to be reasonably considered before the cognitive processes of a child’s development are examined. In saying this, this can assist our understanding of why children’s cognitive abilities are processed and established through the social interactions the child has. Moreover, sociocultural theory focuses on how children’s minds are formed by everyday experiences in social settings. This review will analyse three key concepts of Vygotsky’s theory; language, in particularly private speech, Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) and scaffolding. This is followed by the applications to teaching and learning practices. The first key concept of Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory that will be discussed is speech. Thought and language become increasingly interdependent in the first years of life so language becomes an essential cognitive tool (McDevitt, Ormrod, Cupit, Chandler & Aloa, 2013). When language and thought first merge, children often talk to themselves, a phenomenon known as self-talk
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