MY VIEW ON VYGOTSKY
Mr. Vygotsky hit the nail on the head with his social learning theory. Doesn’t it seem a little surprising that a theory developed so long ago could still be impacting us today? But I know some actual, up close and personal examples of how his reasoning really works. I will expand more into that as I move on.
Vygotsky’s main idea was that “Social interaction leads to development of cognition.” In other words, certain internal processes only operate with a child is interacting with others. Those connections could take many different forms, playtime, formal instruction, tutoring, or help from an experienced learner. I have witnessed such as this when I volunteered in my children’s and grandchildren’s classes. Teachers can take a fun game and completely reconstruct it into a learning situation that the children enjoy; but it works. I have also witnessed a student who had mastered a certain book in the reading corner, listening and helping another student read it. Every class I visited has something called “circle time”, or something similar. This is an excellent time for all students to participate, and for the teacher to urge the shy ones to join in.
Another idea Mr. Vygotsky had was the zone of proximal development. I have read lots of folks’ opinions of this, but I will give you mine. I think this zone is that time between when a child begins learning and the time when that child/person has the ability to grasp things on his or her own. Another idea of his, scaffolding, is how that would be obtained. In other words, the teachers and such would give that child the building blocks he or she needed to begin learning and develop permanent life skills which would carry them through life. I’m not sure if that is exactly as he put it, but it’s how I interpreted it.
Now I’m no dummy, or at least I think I’m not. But I don’t think these methods were used when I was going to school. For some reason, I simply cannot relate those silly little...