Vygotsky Applied to Education

This is basically Vygotsky's theory applied to education. It may be a little confusing though.

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  • Created by: Jess
  • Created on: 27-11-12 20:30
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  • Vygotsky's Theory Applied to Eduaction
    • Collective Learning
      • Children can be important influences in children's cognitive development.
      • Co-operative groups work as opposed to individual discovery learning because it seems to speed up childrens development.
      • Peer Tutoring
        • Children teach each other using Vygotsky's theory
        • One child can be effective in guiding another through the ZPD as they have only recently made that advance themselves, they are in a good position to see difficulties faces by other children.
          • Because of this, they are able to provide appropriate scaffolding
    • Role Of Adults - Scaffolding
      • Children should be active involved in their learning, rather than behaviour as passive receptors of knowledge.
      • teachers should be actively assisting children who then engage actively in learning tasks.
      • Theoretically, this means that children are working within their ZPD and teachers are providing scaffolding which enables children to move through it.
        • This is also known as reciprocal learning.
    • The Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD)
      • This is the gap between what a child can learn on its own and what they can achieve with the help and support of other people.
        • In this case, proximal means what comes next
      • The idea that a child can only take the next step in their development if another person supports and prompts them to.
        • Scaffolding.
      • Hedegaard (1996)
        • Aim: investigated a teaching method involved with working within the ZPD
        • Method: longitudinal study in Denmark, looking at teaching methods. Used three topics and presented the topics using four different methods.
          • shared concrete activities
          • whole-class discussion
          • group work
          • Collective behaviour working
        • Results: Children that were fast learners found the new approach stimulating whereas the less able children also showed interest and motivation.
          • They were able to both show the development of understanding of both concrete information about species and general formulation of theories and models.
        • Conclusion: The structuring of class activities by teachers can help children to work more successfully within the ZPD even in varied classes.
    • Computer Aided Learning
      • Can also be used to provide scaffolding.
        • Both from the use of the computer itself and the social interaction simulated by computers.
      • When children use educational software, the computer provides detailed help or prompts as required according to the child's position within the ZPD.
      • Certain children in the class are inevitably more skilled in the use of computers, and so can take on the role as peer tutors.
      • With pupils working on computers, the teacher is free to target individuals who require help and target appropriate scaffolding to each child.
    • Introduction to new concepts earlier
      • He emphasised that rather than waiting for children to reach a level of cognitive development where they can cope with concepts and tasks on their own, we should be more ambitious in what we expect of children provided that teachers provide scaffolding.
      • A Vygotskian curriculum would introduce new concepts to children earlier than a Piagetian curriculum would.
    • Evaluation
      • Strengths
        • Research has shown clearly that children learn more effectively in groups and that adults and peers can effectively provide scaffolding
        • The effectiveness of co-operative group work and computer aided learning have generally been supported by research.
        • The idea that scaffolding has provided teachers with a way of intervening actively in children's learning without resorting to traditional teaching.
      • Weaknesses
        • There are problems with co-operative group work.
          • There are more opportunities for children to be off task in group work.
          • There are 'free-riders' that do not contribute to the work.


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