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Topics: Developmental psychology, Psychology, Child development Pages: 3 (794 words) Published: March 23, 2012
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Essay Assignment - deadline: 31/01/2011

Vygotsky’ Cognitive Mediation Theory

In relation with the developmental psychology in the human context Piaget imposed the notion of cognitive learning theory as a way to explore the way how to speed up a child’s development. He held that qualitative changes only occur when a child goes through a cognitive stage that is when the child is ready. He strongly expressed that anything an adult tells a child slows the learning by preventing the child from discovering. In other words, Piaget saw the child as a lone scientist discovering the world and applying reasoning to solving problems. However, a limitation of this perspective was that Piaget overlooked the influence of social interactions on child's development. Interestingly, a Marxist would address the American question by focusing on how adult interaction with children accelerates or speed up the potential of developing children (M. W. Watson, 2002).

To Vygotsky, the child is an apprentice who actively learns by interacting with an adult mentor, who provides the child with knowledge and cognitive tools. Where learning theory saw the child as a passive recipient of training/ conditioning, and Piaget saw the child as a lone scientist, Vygotsky saw the child as a collaborator with adults (M. W. Watson, 2002).

In respect to Vygotsky there two major themes contributing to cognitive mediation theory which are the internalization process and the zone of proximal development. Vygotsky believed that adults help children control themselves until the children have developed the internal mediators for regulating themselves without the adults. Different from behaviour modification, through which the child is passively controlled by external forces, in the concept of internalization the child mentally cooperates in joint controlling. Learning first occurs on the social level; the child observes the adult or...
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