Introduction to Early Childhood Education
Instructor: Greta Garrett
June 4, 2012
Lev Vygotsky’s Socialcultural Theory
Lev Vygotsky’s Cultural-Historical Theory is the idea that a child’s social environment was a major contributor to how each child developed. In my own experiences in the classroom I see how each child is an individual and how their development is a product of their environment. Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) is the concept that having assistance and guidance from others, children can learn tasks that is too difficult for them to do on their own. Scaffolding is an important part of ZPD; it is the support and guidance while learning a new task. Within this concept Vygotsky talks about “Scaffolding” which basically means changing the level of support as the student becomes more capable in a task or subject. Another concept which is interlinked with the above is The More Knowledgeable Other (MKO). The MKO refers to anyone who has a better understanding or a greater ability than the student, in respect to a particular task or concept. The MKO is normally thought of as being a teacher, coach, or older adult, but the MKO could also be peers, a younger person, or even computers.
Lev Vygotsky was born in Orsha, Belarus in 1986. In 1917 he graduated from the University of Moscow with a law degree. His real interests were in psychology of education and children with learning disabilities. He was a primary instigator of special education services in Russia. He died at the age of 38 after he contracted tuberculosis from his brother, whom he was taking care of. His work was not fully appreciated until the twentieth century when it became a great influence on developmental psychology, education, and child development.
Vygotsky focused on the connections between people and the sociocultural context in which they act and interact in shared experiences (Crawford, 1996). According to Vygotsky, humans use...