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Vygotsky / Constructivist Theory

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  • 1. Social Development Theory
    • Lindsey Elliott + Basak Haznedaroglu
  • 2. Who invented it? Lev Vygotsky a Soviet psychologist and the founder of cultural-historical physchology
  • 3. When did it first gain attention? Most of his books and articles were suppressed under political grounds. After Stalin’s death in 1953, writings became public and Vygotsky became a major influence in psychology and education.
  • 4. Repackagings?
    • Firstly main focus was on language and its role in cognitive development then expanded to the general education.
    • Scaffolding, reciprocal teaching, and guided instruction are effective strategies that implement Vygotsky’s theory.
    • Reciprocal teaching is an instructional strategy used to teach reading where students take turns being the teacher for a pair or small group. The teacher’s role may simply be to clarify or ask questions.
    • Guided instruction involves the teacher and students exploring math problems and then sharing their different problem solving strategies in an open dialogue
  • 5. How was/ is it applied? - Vygotsky was very much involved in developing the education program for the Soviet Union - Has 2 parts: MKO and ZPD MKO- More Knowledgeable Other: teacher, coach, adult, peer, computer ZPD- Zone of Proximal Development: distance between a student’s ability to perform a task with others vs. independently EXAMPLE: instead of desks in a row, they are in groups!
  • 6. Is it aligned with particular subjects? - No, however this theory focused on the connection between people and the sociocultural context (where they interact while sharing an experience) - The tools children develop (writing and speech) as social functions lead to higher thinking skills
  • 7. Strengths?
    • Interaction between peers = use of social skills
    • Enhancement in human ability to dynamically engage in social interactions and share experiences
    • Development of a deeper understanding of the importance of past experiences and prior knowledge in making sense of present situations
  • 8. Shortcomings? - Children could look to others for answers instead of figuring things out for themselves