Zone of Proximal Development

Curious and Active

According to Vygotsky, young children are inquisitive and curious.  Young children are actively involved in making new discoveries and they are involved in their own learning.

  • Vygotsky highlighted the importance of the influence and contribution of other people and culture in the developmental process.
  • Vygotsky theory has been useful in bridging a child’s individual thinking with schooling and literacy, and his writing has been provided researchers with a tool to include social, cultural, and historical context.

Focus on Cognitive Skills

Most of the important learning is the result of social interaction. It should be noted that Vygotsky focused on cognitive skills. He described the way cognitive skills are dependent upon inventions such as literacy, mathematics, and mnemonic skills. Vygotsky wanted to promote academic skills in Russia.

Although, his ideas are important when describing the kind of interaction that takes place in education, they do not always apply and transfer to situations where parents are interacting with their children.

Most parents are not consciously trying to instruct their children.  And in many cases, children take responsibility for their own learning. Children observe and interact in the world.

 How does a child learn to think?

Children learn to use various thinking tools that are available in their environment, and by interacting with a more skilled parent or teacher, the child eventually learns to use these tools.

A young child is given a new jigsaw, and he tries to put the pieces together. The young boy is not particularly successful and his older sister spends some time showing him how to solve the puzzle. The older sister tells her brother to start by finding all the corner pieces, and she gives her brother a couple of pieces to put together. After a while, the young boy gains more confidence, competence, and he can put the jigsaw together himself. The sister is a more knowledgeable other – MKO.

  • In some case the more knowledgeable, other can be the child.
  • Many children are more knowledgeable when it comes to using the Internet or making the new dance moves.
  • A more knowledgeable person does not have to be a person – it can also be a robot or an electronic tutor.
  • The defining criteria are that the person or robot etc has to have more knowledge about the subject.

Cultural Tools

Culture is not a static condition, rather culture is constantly evolving, and the cultural tools that are available changes and develops.

Zone of Proximal Development
The zone of proximal development (ZPD) is the functions that have not matured but are in the process of maturing.

  • A child who cannot solve a cognitive takes today may be able to solve it by himself tomorrow.
  • A basic idea it that the child can only develop the skill with the encouragement and guidance of a more knowledgeable person.

Photo: Little Girl In A Suitcase by David Castillo Dominici

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