Lev Vygotsky Theory of Cognitive Development
Lev Vygotsky (1896-1934) • Russian psycologist with training in law, history, philosophy and literature. • Worked as a psychologist with Alexander Luria and Alexei Leontiev. • Died of Tuberculosis in 1934. • After death his ideas were kept alive by his students.
Theory of Cognitive Development • Vygotsky's theories stress the fundamental role of social interaction in the development of cognition, as he believed strongly that community plays a central role in the process of "making meaning."
4 Basic Principles Underlying The Vygotskian Framework • Children construct their knowledge. • Development can not be separated from it’s social context. • Learning can lead development. • Language plays a central role in mental development.
Ways That Vygotsky’s Theory Is Different From Piaget’s. • 1: Vygotsky places more emphasis on culture affecting/shaping cognitive development - this contradicts Piaget's view of universal stages and content of development. (Vygotsky does not refer to stages in the way that Piaget does). • 2: Vygotsky places considerably more emphasis on social factors contributing to cognitive development (Piaget is criticised for underestimating this). • 3: Vygotsky places more (and different) emphasis on the role of language in cognitive development (again Piaget is criticized for lack of emphasis on this).
Application to an Educator • Make sure children understand basic ideas before teaching more complicated ones. Ex) Make sure that children know numbers before teaching addition. • Have children work in groups as much as possible. • Have children talk, write or draw things out. • Give a child a more challenging task with sufficient scaffolding to allow children to accomplish tasks successfully. • Allow children the opportunity to accomplish the task the way that they are most comfortable. • Allow children to engage in “authentic activities”- activities that are typical adult activities. Ex) Writing a newsletter, participating in a debate. • Give children the chance to play. Use toys that are educational or dramatic play. Ex) A kitchen area, dress up clothes, dolls.
Resources • http://www.muskingum.edu/~psych/psycweb/history/vygotsky.htm • McLeod, S. A. (2007). Vygotsky.Retrieved from http://www.simplypsychology.org/vygotsky.html • Child Development and Psychology Forrest W. Parkay • http://r.web.umkc.edu/rv191/vygotsky.htm