# Today, I am going to introduce to you Vygotsky’s theory for human development and education.
Vygotsky was born in Russia in 1896. As shown, he lived only for 38 years. However, the impact of his theory for human development and education is so huge even in 21 century. What is so different? How is it related to our lives? We are going to learn and discuss it in this hour.
# We have two things to do in the class.
# 1st one is introduction of Vygotsky theory. The theory has quite wide scope and not typical thinking way. So I have to focus on a few important ideas.
# 2nd one is discussion part. We are going to discuss how to promote discussion in our campus. According his theory, interaction between people is arena for intellectual development. Engaging in discussion is a great opportunity for our ability. So we don’t have reasons not to promote discussion in our campus.
There are three objectives in the class. Let me skip this I think you have seen it on the prep sheet.
Recently, it is popular to understand Vygotsky’s theory in terms of three main ideas. (1) (2) (3) We do not have enough time for detailed explanation. So I made a picture to understand them intuitively.
This slide illustrates the overall picture of Vygotsky’s theory. The top oval of the slide indicates a single individual. Individuals as human species have biological history. Usually, we call it evolution process. The center oval indicates language as communication tool which is used between individuals in a community. The bottom oval indicates a community in which individuals are involved. In his theory, current individual is a result of the mixture of biological evolution, historical development of the community, and the individual’s lifespan development. Then when someone can do something, its cause should be explained in terms of those different types of development. This is the genetic method, the first idea of Vygotsky’s theory. The most important thing in the theory is the role of the language. Language is a bridge connecting history of a community and an individual. First, when we are baby, we acquire the language skill to communicate significant others (or important persons for the baby). This is not the final function of language. Then we started to use the language as a tool for thinking. Our ability to think was enabled by language. Language has formed through our cultural activities for quite long duration. So it is said that our language and thinking ability are strongly related to our history in the community. This is about the cultural mediation, the third idea of Vygotsky’s theory. In the developmental process, there is a fixed order. Communication first, then individual ability. The second ideas of Vygotsky’s theory argues that our thinking ability is the one that has taken the pattern of our communications. Then if we want to think rationally or scientifically, we have to talk rationally or scientifically beforehand with others.
Usually, a community has own practice. Practice does not mean here training or such. Practice is skill-based or professional activity for a certain interest in a certain community.
Now we have take a look at the theory of Vygotsky. Here we are going to understand the theory in order to find it more familiar to us.
Today, I chose the posted messages from some of you on moodle to demonstrate how his theory is different from our everyday thinking pattern. On next slide, I will show you a post. I would like to ask to find the words that show how you think of discussion ability.
So let’s have a look.
Now I’d like to sum up the discussion so far. We are very familiar with thinking that a resultant difficulty in doing something comes from the lack of inner attributes of human.しょうぞう
From the discussion so far, we can induce a way to promote discussion in our campus.
Finally, I’d like to propose you some topics for further discussion.
20101116teachingin english tomida02
Challenges and Issues in Research
Vygotsky’s Theory and Its Application
TOMIDA Eiji Faculty of
Education富田 英司 愛媛大学教
Lev Semyonovich Vygotsky
•Born in Belarus (Russian
Empire at that time)
•1896 – 1934
•Majored in literature,
medicine, law, and
• Introduction of Vygotsky’s theory
• Discussing on how to promote
discussion in our campus
1. To understand basic ideas of
2. To aware the importance to engage
in public discussions.
3. To propose some ideas to promote
discussion at our campus.
Three main ideas（Wertsch,1985
– Human should be understood in process
（２）Social origin of human mind
– Our intelligence is shaped between people
– Our intelligence is based on cultural tools
Community of Practice
by theory of Vygotsky
• To what factors did you attribute
the reasons for the difficulty?
• Let’s look into the first three
post to the thread.
(Thank the three students so mach
1. Have you experienced difficulty
in discussing? If you do, how was
it like? What do you think are
the reasons for the difficulty?
2. What do you think are the best
ways to promote discussion at our
What is the reasons?
From the point of Vygotskian
• Usual causal attribution
– Ability/knowledge → Practice
• Vygotskian causal attribution
– Practice → Ability/knowledge
Implications of Vygotsky’s
• Our intellectual ability is formed
through social interaction
• Then, if you develop your ability,
you should engage in discussions
• However, it is not enough
– We are not inclined to do what is not
related to the practicein community
– Then what we should?
What is “discussing”?
• Who made this custom?
– Western democracy is from Greece or Viking?
• For what?
– They used it to decide important things
• Is it relevant to our lives?
– Before, only small number of people had been
involved in decision making.
– Modern society requires its members to talk to
diverse people for prospective lives.
– Then discussing requires us certain manners in
talking behaving, and choosing words.
How to be involved in practice?
• Our ability is based on practice.
• Have you been involved in practice?
– Usually not for most people
– Schooling is a setup to remove us from
• For acquiring necessary skill in future job
– So we should think of things we have
been actually involved already.
A possible answer
• We should modify social practice
in order to learners can be
situated so that they are
– By joining research activity from
early stage of college life
– By offering more chances for
– By involving teachers themselves in
• Are the students not involved in
practice? Or they do not aware
that they have been involved?
• How can they be involved in
practice? Or how can they aware
their commitment to the community?