The socio cultural-perspectivePresentation Transcript
ECS Year 1 Learning &Thinking The Sociocultural Perspective 16 November 2009
In this session
What is a sociocultural perspective and how does it differ from other theories of learning?
Who was Vygotsky and what are the key principles of his theory of learning?
All, theorists agree we need to have explanations of how the mind works and how we learn.
How do the following explain learning?
Skinner’s behaviourist approach
Piaget’s theory of mental development
The mind as a computer
What is a sociocultural perspective?
Focuses on the social context as central to
Stresses the importance of social interaction, communication and instruction in learning
The social environment is not just a place
where learning happens, it is integral to it
Explains individual differences in learning
Learning is a cultural activity
Young children are seen as apprentices or novices in a culture
They learn from more experienced members of that culture
Learning takes place in formal or informal social contexts with siblings, parents, friends, acquaintances, teachers etc
Children learn about the values, beliefs and practices of their community
While children gain knowledge and skills that are important to that community or group, they are also learning to become members of that community or group. Shobie talks about helping her children to recite the Qur’an S Everything we read in Arabic has a meaning, an Islamic meaning. It is important C And the children learn word for word? S: Word for word. That’s right. And you have to say it in an accurate way. I can’t make up a word. I can’t add anything or take out anything. It has to be said exactly the way we have been taught for many, many hundred years.
‘ He makes up his own story and I leave it. I don’t try to correct him because it’s nice. It’s nice that my son can use his imagination, make up words. So I let him read what he wants to read and then I sit back and read it to him and then I sort of say the words and get him to point.’
LS Vygotsky 1896-1934
Russian Psychologist who transformed
Work was banned under Stalin
Inspired much original resrearch
Translated into English in the 1960s and
became very influential in Education in the
1980 and to this day.
Learning through instruction is an
important part of human intelligence
Education is not about learning knowledge and skills but for children to develop the capacity to think clearly and creatively, to plan and be able to communicate their understanding
The key to human intelligence is the ability to use different types of tools
Just as we use material tools to extend our physical capacities (eg forks, levers, screwdrivers) we use psychological tools to extend our mental capacities.
Symbolic systems that have been developed in the culture and passed on
Vygotsky believed that the purpose of education was to introduce children to the full range of cultural tools and show them how to use them
When children know how to use these cultural tools they can begin to plan and organise their own activities, express their own points of view, solve problems, interact freely with other people.
Members of the culture can then use cultural tools dynamically to develop them Eg writing - - - txt msgs.
Vygotsky believed language was the most important cultural tool because it:
helps us to make sense of and act on the
is the medium for sharing knowledge
is the basis of thought
The interrelationship of language and thought
Young children often keep a running commentary on what they are doing
As they develop this becomes internalised as thought
Speech structures mastered by children become the basic structures of their thinking.
Development takes place on two planes
On a social plane through interaction
On a psychological level as the learner internalises meanings
For example :
doing a jigsaw puzzle
learning to read a picture book
The zone of proximal development (ZPD)
The gap between what a child can do alone and what s/he can do with the help of a knowledgeable other
Tasks and or actions that are just beyond their current capability
A comfortable but challenging level
Allows for joint construction between the child and the adult, internalised by the child, practised alone and generalised to new situations
Means the child can achieve jointly what s/he could not achieve alone
Scaffolding ( Wood, Bruner & Ross 1976)
Not directly referred to by Vygotsky but central to socio-cultural perspective
The scaffolder structures the activity so the novice can participate in a manageable part of the task and over time gradually reduces support
Retains the complexity of the task while simplifying the learner’s role.