The Influence of Interactions on Child Development Essay

The Influence of Interactions on Child Development Essay

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Socio-cultural theorists emphasize that much of the development takes place though direct interaction between children and other people e.g. parents, teachers, siblings and so on. Lev Vygotsky (1934) argued that this interaction helps children to acquire the skills and knowledge that are valued by their culture. Children are active learners, constructing knowledge, skills, and attitudes, not just mirroring the world around them. Essentially, the history and the culture of the society in which a child grows up and the events making up a child’s personal history determine much more than what that child knows or likes. It also determines which mental tools the child will learn and how these tools will shape the child’s mind.

Like Piaget, Vygotsky claimed that infants are born with basic abilities for intellectual development. These are called Elementary Mental Functions and include processes like attention, sensation, perception and memory. When children develop within the socio-cultural environment, these are developed into more sophisticated and effective mental processes, also referred to as Higher Mental Functions. For example, culture can determine our perception and how we see things. One example could be tribe cultures; they might help children to understand that plants are living things, as much as animals are. This understanding might come about from being exposed and interacting with nature on daily basis. Children that grew up in towns and cities, on the other hand, might not get as much interaction with the nature and their understanding that plants are living things might come about later on. Vygotsky therefore sees cognitive functions as affected by our beliefs, values and tools of intellectual adaptation of the cultu...


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...s theory any further as he died at a young age. Despite that, his theory has been seen as highly relevant to child’s development and therefore applied in educational settings. However, there are still things that need improvement, such as trying to engage children more in interactions with each other as well as the teachers so children are not spoon fed but will be able to construct their own knowledge based on interactions with others. According to Vygotsky, the overall goal of education is to generate and lead the development which is the result of social learning though internalisation of culture and social relationships. Past experience and prior knowledge is important for a child so they can be able to make sense of new situations and experiences. He said that all that knowledge is greatly influenced by each student’s culture that they have been brought up in.

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