Lev Vygotsky's Theory on Cognitive Development

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Lev Vygotsky was a Russian developmentalist who believed that adults in all societies “foster children’s cognitive development in an intentional and somewhat systematic manner” (Ormrod, 2011, pg.39). Vygotsky sociocultural theory focused on what a child could do merely with an adult’s assistance. Nature is the emphasis of this theory highlighting children’s cultural and social environmental experiences that influence cognitive growth. Two main terms that are of uttermost importance in this principle are a child’s zone of proximal development (ZPD) and scaffolding (Ormrod, 2011, pg.39). Zone of proximal development will first be defined and explained to better understand and comprehend what is entailed within this popular method of teaching and child development. First the Zone of proximal development can be established as a child’s learning and problem solving skills that are currently in the process of evolving. The ZPD is a key source to use when choosing a task for a child to complete. It is important to determine whether the task is too easy or too hard. The ZPD can aide with the decision an adult or instructor makes when selecting tasks specific children need to complete to help them reach their full cognitive potential. Identifying a child’s ZPD must be done to give the educator an idea of what is appropriate or the student to be working on or with (Ormrod, 2011, pg.41). To establish the ZPD an instructor needs to look at the child’s actual development level by testing them or being knowledgeable of what a student can already complete without any adult assistance. The ZPD then can be acknowledged as tasks that a child cannot undertake without the assistance and full support from an adult (Ormrod, 2011, pg... ... middle of paper ... ...ed on how to test and push children to their fullest potential. The learning, thinking, and methods of teaching individual children have been viewed in a different light. Individual problem solving and building from small challenging tasks to larger achievable goals allows children to “learn by doing”. Children today are now expected to perform at higher levels than in the past therefore, reaching their highest level of cognitive development. Works Cited Lewis, B. (2013, November 7). Scaffolding. Broadway, New York, U.S. National Governors Association Center for Best Practices & Council of Chief State School Officers. (2010). Common Core State Standards. Washngton D.C. Ormrod, J. E. (2011). Educational Psychoogy Developing Learners. Boston: Pearson. Pearson Childhood Research Program. (2000, 2014). Read together Talk Together. Old Tappan, New Jersey, U.S.
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