Zone of Proximal Development

Topics: Developmental psychology, Lev Vygotsky, Jean Piaget Pages: 11 (3462 words) Published: April 1, 2011
Evaluate the role of ZPD in a child’s development

a.)How it has helped or aid the learner achieve his / her maximum development

b.)Its implications for professional practice


In this essay I am going to be arguing that ZPD’s role is to point to an important place or moment in the process of child development. My argument will also support the value of ZPD and its procedures as it aids the learner and progress across it.

In order for the ZPD to be such a success, it must contain two features. The first is called subjectivity. This term describes the process of two individuals begin a task with different understanding and eventually arrive at a shared understanding. The second feature is scaffolding, which refers to a change in the social support over the course of a teaching session. If scaffolding is successful, a child's mastery level of performance can change, which means that it can increase a child's performance on a particular task. As a Chinese -Montessori teacher, I have two questions in mind, “What kind of instruction is good enough or effective enough for a child so he could reach his maximum development?” “How much right amount of support can be given to the learner?”

II. History of Lev Yygotsky and the ZPD theory
Lev Vygotsky was born in Orsha, a city in the western region of the Russian Empire. He attended Moscow State University, where he graduated with a degree in law in 1917. He studied a range of topics white attending university, including sociology, linguistics, psychology and philosophy. However, his formal work in psychology did not begin until 1924 when he attended the Institute of Psychology in Moscow and began collaborating with Alexei Leontiev and Alexander Luria.

When the Cold War ended, Vygotsky's works were revealed. Vygotsky has written several articles and books on the subject of his theories and psychology, including Thought and Language(1934). His research in how children solve their problems that surpassed their level of development led Vygotsky to create the Zone of Proximal Development theory. That is one reason why Vygotsky's developmental psychology has influenced education profoundly in Russia. Lev Semyonovich Vygotsky is considered a seminal thinker in psychology, and much of his work is still being discovered and explored today. While he was a contemporary of Piaget, Pavlov and the others, his work never attained their level of eminence during his lifetime. Part of this was because his work was often criticized by the Communist Party in Russia, and so his writings were largely inaccessible to the Western world. His premature death at age 38 also contributed to his obscurity. (Smith et al, 1997). Originally developed by social cognitive theorist and psychologist Lev Vygotsky, the concept of the zone of proximal development opposes the use of standardized tests as a means to measure student intelligence. Vygotsky suggests that instead of assessing what a student knows to determine intelligence, it is more helpful to compare their ability to independently solve problems with their ability to solve problems with the assistance of someone who has mastered the concepts being learned. Vygotsky began this research because he wanted to understand how children’s functions (like attention, memory, and perception) develop and are individual to the learner. Vygotsky contends that children develop deliberate control over everyday concepts through contact with scientific concepts. Within the Vygotskian concept of zone of proximal development, social interaction is the basis for cognitive growth. Accordingly, the communication that transpires in a social setting with more knowledgeable or proficient people (parents, teachers, peers, others) assists children in building an understanding of the concept. American psychologist Jerome Bruner (1986) describes the zone of proximal development as “the child’s ability to recognize the value of hinges and props even...

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Piaget, J. (1964). Six Psychological Studies. Gonthier, Geneve. Random House
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Vygotsky, L. (1978). Mind in Society. The Development of Higher Psychological Processes. Cambridge, Massachusettes. Harvard University Press
Vygotsky, L.(1962)
Zeuli, J. ((1986). The Use of the Zone of Proximal Development in Everyday and School Context.: A Vygotskian Critique (paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association. San Francisco, California.
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