The major theme of Vygotsky's theoretical framework is that social interaction plays a fundamental role in the development of cognition. (Bandura's social learning theory parallels this.)
Vygotsky (1978)states: "Every function in the child's cultural development appears twice: first, on the social level, and later, on the individual level; first, between people (interpsychological) and then inside the child (intrapsychological).
This applies equally to voluntary attention, to logical memory, and to the formation of concepts. All the higher functions originate as actual relationships between individuals." (p57).
ZPD: A second aspect of Vygotsky's theory is the idea that the potential for cognitive development is limited to a certain time span which he calls the "zone of proximal development" (ZPD).
Furthermore, full development during the ZPD depends upon full social interaction. The range of skill that can be developed with adult guidance or peer collaboration exceeds what can be attained alone.
Scaffolding - providing support and gradually withdrawing it as student becomes independent
Mediated Learning (Feuerstein) - intelligence is not fixed, but can be enhanced by a mediator (teacher, tutor, mentor, peer collaboration) through guided interaction within ZPD.
Vygotsky (1978, p56) provides the example of pointing a finger. Initially, this behavior begins as a meaningless grasping motion; however, as people react to the gesture, it becomes a movement that has meaning. In particular, the pointing gesture represents an interpersonal connection between individuals.
Review of Principles:
1. Cognitive development is enhanced by working within the zone of proximal development, that area between the student's independent and frustration levels.
2. Full cognitive development requires social interaction.
from) Kearsley, Greg. "Theory in Practice Database". George Washington University
Vygotsky, L.S. (1962). Thought and Language. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Vygotsky, L.S. (1978). Mind in Society. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Wertsch, J.V. (1985). Cultural, Communication, and Cognition: Vygotskian Perspectives. Cambridge University Press.
Ardichvili, Alexander, "Lev Semyonovich Vygotsky" (2001). In Fifty Modern Thinkers on Education, Joy A. Palmer, ed. Routledge.
Appalachian State Univ, Vygotsky Construction Zone
Indiana Univ P540 course page on Vygotsky
Virtual Faculty at Massey College, Celebration of the Centenary of the Birth of Vygotsky
For more, go to G. Lewin's summary on Vygotsky.