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Sociocultural Theory : Lev Vygotsky Essay

1347 words - 5 pages

Lev Vygotsky was a Russian psychologist, born November 17, 1896, who had a wide range of interests that included the cognitive and language development of children. Vygotsky’s theories are somewhat incomplete due to his death at the young age of 38 from tuberculosis. Vygotsky faced many struggles in life that he was able to overcome, such as being a young Jewish boy who grew up in a time where the Russian District limited the number of Jews who were allowed to be educated at a University level. (Tools of the Mind pg. 5) Fortunately he was one of the few who was awarded this education opportunity and prevailed as an exceptional student. As stated in the Tools of the Mind, “Vygotsky taught literature in a secondary school and then went on further to lecture at a teacher-trained institute”. Vygotsky then began his theory research that is known as the Vygotskian approach. The Vygotskian framework is consists of four basic principles as summarized in the Tools of the Mind (pg. 8),
1. Children construct knowledge.
Vygotsky believed that children construct their own knowledge based on their present and past social interactions and emphasizes the importance of understanding what these influences are or were to better understand what the Childs concept is.
2. Development cannot be separated from its social context.
Although attitudes and beliefs influence learning the social context influences it more because the social context not only influences the learning it also shapes the cognitive processes of the learner. Social context needs to be evaluated at the immediate level, the structural level (including family and school), and the general cultural or social level as a whole.
3. Learning can lead to development.
Vygotsky believed that development influences learning and learning influences development.
4. Language plays a central role in mental development.
Language works with shared experiences that are necessary for the development of cognitive processes.
The understanding of the Vygotskian approach leads us the Vygotsky’s Social Development Theory.
In Lev Vygotsky’s Social Development Theory social interaction is an essential part of the cognitive development of a child. 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). Vygotsky, unlike Piaget believed that cognitive development is not limited just to children, which is where it begins but continues at all age ranges and that social interaction is required for full cognitive development. Vygotsky believed that social learning tends to precede development and that cognitive development stems from social interactions and...

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