Unformatted text preview: ng and knowing could also differ.
People’s cognitive development would have to be understood in terms of its
cultural contexts. This viewpoint has come to be known as a contextualist view of
cognition. Contextualist views of development explain human development in
terms of the complex interactions between people and their various environmental
contexts (Rogoff & Morelli, 1987; Steenbarger, 1991; Sue, 1991).
Educational Implications of Vygotskian Theory
Vygotsky’s theoretical ideas have implications for both instruction and
assessment. The zone of proximal development provides a mechanism for
providing strategy and skill learning. Vygotsky’s view of the role of culture in 31 development has led some to consider classrooms as cultural contexts. For
example, how do classroom participation structures promote or constrain learners’
interactions within those classrooms? The goal here has been to develop
classroom cultures that support students’ active learning within their zones of
proximal development. Finally, the zone of proximal development provides a
structure for assessing students’ learning potential.
The Zone of Proximal Development and Strategy and Skill Learning
Students’ skill and strategy learning within their zones of proximal
development can be conceptualized in two ways. Teaching within the zone of
proximal development can be conceptualized as a tutorial or as an opportunity for
collaborative problem solving.
Tutoring within the zone of proximal development. In a tutorial
approach learners interact with more skilled peers or adults to perform a task that
those learners cannot perform independently. The adults or more skilled peers in
these situations guide or support the performance of the learners with the goal of
helping them internalize important skills or strategies This guidance that is
provided by more skilled learners is often referred to as scaffolding (De Guerrero
& Villamil, 2000; Wood, Bruner & Ross, 1976), However, it also has been
referred to as guided participation (Radziszewska & Rogoff, 1991) and responsive
teaching (Gaskins, Anderson, Pressley, Cunicelli, & Satlow, 1993). Scaffolding is 32 also important in cognitive apprenticeship approaches (Brown, Collins, &
Scaffolding usually follows a three-step sequence. At first, the adults or
more skilled learners assume most of the responsibility for completing the task.
For example, they may model and explain what they are doing. Second, the
learner and the adult or peer guide share responsibility for task completion. The
guide gradually relinquishes control to the learner as the learners’ skills increase.
Finally, the learner takes full responsibility for completing the task. This final step
represents a transition from socially supported performance to independent
performance. From a Vygotskian perspective, a new zone of proximal
development has been created. We will have more to say about scaffolding later
in this chapter.
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- Spring '08
- Theory of cognitive development, Lev Semenovich Vygotsky