Vygotsky's Socio-Cultural Theory Underpins Learning And Development

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Introduction
This report argues how Vygotsky’s socio-cultural theory underpins education principles and practices, and student’s learning and development, informed by scholarly material, and observations of practices, formulated from observing a lower primary class. Vygotsky’s socio-cultural theory illustrates the power of language, culture and social interactions with more knowledgeable others, to generate critical thinking. As according to Vygotsky, the major influence on child’s learning and development, is the culture in which they were raised. In this report, the four key concepts of Vygotsky’s theory; social mediated learning, scaffolding, zone of proximal development (ZPD) and cultural tools, will be discussed in relation to the key
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98). This transference of responsibility, is achieved by gradually building on student’s confidence and competence on a task, through guiding the student through the task, starting with explicit instruction, then gradually removing the level of assistance to increase the student’s independence (Fox-Turnbull & Snape 2011, p. 46). Scaffolding in education, is achieved through the use of modelling and language, such as questioning, feedback, direct instruction, discussion, and demonstration, to promote a higher level of thinking in students (Woolfolk & Margetts 2016, p. 98). As seen by ‘Observation 2’ and ‘Observation 3’, scaffolding in the classroom can be executed by a teacher or peers, if they are more knowledgeable than the student about a particular subject. Additionally, the use of modelling and language were both applied by the more knowledgeable other/s in ‘Observation 2 & 3’to scaffold the student’s learning. Scaffolding is beneficial to students learning and development, as it provides students with a path to success in learning, through supporting and assisting students to reach a higher level of …show more content…
2011, p. 455). The purpose of ZPD is to extend student’s cognitive ability to ensure, that they are challenged in their learning, and are neither bored nor out of their depths (Woolfolk & Margetts 2016, p. 97). To apply this concept to an educational context requires that the teacher has a sound understanding of each students’ cognitive ability, to individualise learning and meet each student’s ZPD in their teaching (Woolfolk & Margetts 2016, p. 98). ‘Observation 4’ demonstrates the use of this concept, as by dividing the class into ability groups, each group can be challenged to their ZPD. However, as there are more groups than teachers, a collaborative approach is used in the groups to work within their ZPDs, if they are not receiving scaffolding by the teacher. Therefore, knowledge of ZPD in the classroom is vital to maximise learning and

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