Socio-Cultural DevelopmentVygotsky Clip art images
Objectives• Theory/theorist background• Identify socio-cultural influences on development – Social and cultural factors that affect children’s development• Describe Vygotsky’s theory of social constructivism – Social sources of individual thinking• Identify the role of language and private speech• Define the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) – Apply this concept• Define scaffolding – Apply this concept• Identify educational implications of Vygotsky’s perspective• Compare and contrast the perspectives of Piaget and Vygotsky
Socio-cultural influences • Two backgrounds: Adult-child – Children growing up in a interactions Western middle-class society Play – Children growing up in a Education village or tribal culture ResponsibilitiesClip art images
Socio-cultural influencesWestern middle-class society Village and/or tribal cultureChildren typically excluded from taking Children spend their days in contactpart in adult work, which is generally with, or participating in, adult work.outside of home.In early childhood, parent interactions In early childhood, children start tofocus on preparing the child to succeed assume mature responsibilities.at school.Adult-child conversations and play Parents have little need to rely onenhance language, literacy and other conversation or play to teach children.school related knowledge.Schools given the role of equipping Children receive little or no schooling.children with the skills they will need tobecome competent workers.(Gaskins 1999; Morelli, Rogoff & Angelillo 2003)
Lev Vygotsky 1896-1934• A Russian psychologist and educator – Born 1896 (same year as Piaget) – Jewish middle class family – Privately tutored• Graduated Moscow State University 1917 – Taught literature and psychology for seven years – Post-World War revolutionary Russia Google images – Over 100 books and articles• Theory not known among English-speaking educators until 1960s when works were translated – Few scholarly works published during his lifetime – Shortly after his death Vygotsky’s work was banned in the Soviet Union for more than twenty years
Socio-cultural theoryEmphasises…• Sociocultural forces – The situation of a child’s development and learning• Crucial roles played by parents, teachers, peers and the community – Interactions occurring between children and their environments• Mediation – Human and symbolic intermediaries between the learner and the material to be learned• Psychological tools – Symbolic systems internalised by learners to become their inner cognitive tools
Social constructivism • Complex mental processes begin as social activities – Dialogue promotes cognitive development – Children incorporate the ways that adults and others talk about and interpret the world into their own ways of thinking – Through their interactions with children adults transmit their society’s values and skills to the next generation ... thus influencing the course of future developmentClip art images
Cultural apprentices • Knowledge is constructed in a social context • Learners as active participants • Children are ‘apprentices’ of their culture – Fishing/hunting cultures pass on ecological knowledge – Trading cultures pass on skills in mathematics – Smiths and tradesmen pass on the skills of their workClip art images
Students, teachers and knowledge• How is knowledge passed on in Australian, German and Japanese classrooms? How do they differ?• In a Japanese classroom there are students and there is knowledge and the teacher serves as a mediator between them.*• In a German classroom there are also students and knowledge, but teachers perceive this knowledge as their property to dispense to students as they think best.*• In the Australian classroom we again have teachers and students and knowledge… – What is their relationship in this context? • Delivery of knowledge - by ‘expert’ teachers? • Co-construction of knowledge? • Student discovery of knowledge?*Stiegler & Hiebert 1999, cited in Kozulin et al.2003 Vygotsky’s educational theory in cultural context Clip art images
Socio-cultural influences on cognition and learning• Human cognition and learning as social and cultural rather than individual phenomena• Explored relationships between – Language and thought – Instruction and development – Everyday and academic concept formation• The nature of knowledge in the classroom – Children defined by their age and IQ versus culturally and socially situated learners – Teachers as: • Role model? • Source of knowledge? • Mediator of knowledge? Clip art images
Cultural tools• Allow people in a society to communicate, think, solve problems, create knowledge• These tools (type and quality) influence the pattern and rate of development• Real tools – Printing press – Computer – Internet• Symbolic tools (psychological) – Language – Signs – Codes Clip art images
Language• Social instrument – Language development broadens participation• Cognitive tool – Dialogues transformed into higher cognitive processes Thought and language are interdependent • self-talk • children talk to themselves out loud • inner speech private speech • children talk to themselves mentally • language transformed into inner verbal thought Clip art images
Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD)• Children can perform more challenging tasks when assisted• Challenging tasks promote maximum cognitive growth• Actual developmental level – Extent to which the child can perform tasks independently• Level of potential development – Extent to which the child can perform tasks with assistance• The range of tasks a child cannot yet do on their own, but can do with the help of others is known as the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD)• To help a child move through the ZPD, assistance is provided by scaffolding
Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) “...what we call the Zone of Proximal Beyond reach Development...is a distance between at present the actual developmental level determined by individual problem solving and the level of development ZPD as determined through problem solving under guidance or in collaboration with more capable peers” (Vygotsky 1978, p.86). Child’s current achievement Within the ZPD are those skills or tasks too difficult for a child to master on his or her own; but that can be done with guidance and encouragement from a knowledgeable personVygotsky, L 1978, Mind in society: The Development of Higher Mental Processes, Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press.
Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) Tasks the child Tasks the childTasks the child is capable of cannot can complete completing with complete evenindependently help and guidance with help (scaffolding) Can do with help Cannot do yetCan do alone Within ZPD Beyond ZPD
Scaffolding• Assistance provided by more competent peers or adults to enable the task to be done successfully• Scaffolded instruction allows the learner to move through the ZPD• Modelling; feedback; instruction; questioning; encouragement; task structuring; chunking; breaking the problem down• Scaffolding is gradually withdrawn Clip art images
Putting it all together: Language + ZPD + Scaffolding Actual Zone of proximal development Potentialdevelopment (ZPD) development Student Adult – then joint Selfresponsibility responsibility responsibilityWhat student Scaffolding Transition from other Assistance Internalisation, can do on Assistance from more assistance to self- provided by automatisationhis/her own capable others: assistance the self unassisted teacher, adults, peers Clues; reminders; examples; modelling; encouragement; breaking problem down Social speech Adult uses language Adult and student share to model process language and activity Self-talk Inner speech - Private speech Student uses for Silent dialogue Internalised and himself/herself the student transformed to language that adults has with self: inner verbal use to regulate conscious thought: behaviour: mental activity self-regulation self-control
Teaching implications• Students need many opportunities to learn with a teacher and with more-skilled peers• Work within the zone of proximal development – Establish a level of difficulty • Challenging, but not too difficult • May mean differentiating learning experiences – Evaluate independent performance• Provide scaffolding – Scaffolded instruction – Assisted performance • Teacher or more capable peer – Cooperative learning• Incorporate language and self-instruction in teaching – Model language use when completing tasks – ‘Think’ out loud• Regularly monitor and assess students’ independent performance
Summary of key principles and concepts• Learners are: • Thought and language become – Active participants increasingly interdependent – Self-regulated – self-talk• Social interaction is necessary • children talk to themselves out loud – Cooperative dialogues – inner speech and private speech between children and more • children talk to themselves mentally knowledgeable members of • Children can perform more challenging society tasks when assisted by more – Vital roles of parents, competent individuals teachers, peers in cognitive – Actual developmental level development • child can perform tasks• Culture is transmitted to the independently next generation – Potential development – Values, beliefs, customs, and • child can perform tasks with skills of a social group assistance – Children apprentices of their – Zone of Proximal Development culture – Scaffolding• Complex mental processes • Challenging tasks promote maximum begin as social activities. cognitive growth
Criticisms• Has the role of language in thinking been overemphasised? – Verbal interactions are not the only means through which children learn. – What about children who are deaf?• What of cultures where schooling and literacy are not emphasised?• What about biological contributions to children’s cognition?• Can facilitators be ‘too’ helpful in some cases? – Such as when a parent becomes too overbearing and controlling.• Do children become lazy and expect help when they might have done something on their own?• Vagueness around the concept of ZPD – Is the width the same across all areas of learning? – Does it vary with time of day?
Strengths• Recognises social and cultural influences – Supporting current belief that it is important to evaluate contextual factors in childrens development and learning.• Recognises that societal, cultural and historical factors will lead to differences in problem solving and cognitive development.• Research based on observations of children from Western industrialised societies has generally supported Piaget’s ideas, whereas tudies of children growing up in other societies and cultures have been more consistent with Vygotsky’s views.
A brief comparison: Piaget VygotskySociocultural context Little emphasis Strong emphasisConstructivism Cognitive constructivist Social constructivistStages Strong emphasis on stages of No general stages of development development proposedKey processes in Equilibration; schema; Zone of proximal development;development & adaptation; assimilation; scaffolding; language/dialogue;learning accommodation tools of the cultureRole of language Minimal – Major – Language provides labels for Language plays a powerful role children’s experiences in shaping thought (egocentric speech)Teaching implications Support children to explore Establish opportunities for their world and discover children to learn with the knowledge teacher and more skilled peers