Vygotsky's Explanation For Cognitive Development

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  • Created on: 21-06-12 17:02
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Vygotsky's Explanation For Cognitive Development ­ Andrew F
AO1's AO2's
1 Vygotsky's theory takes a social
constructivist approach, meaning that it is
interaction with others that causes cognitive
2 However, he did agree with Piaget that there
are some inherited mental functions.
1 Vygotsky states that cultural background
cannot be separated from development of
thinking. The cultural setting influences
both the content of thinking and the
process of thinking.
2 As soon as a child is born, it begins to
interact with the world, if only passively.
Over time it learns that basic
communication can alter the environment.
At this point though, there is no formal
thinking involved.
3 This unreasoned response continues into
childhood. Even when a child has learnt to
speak, they cannot seperate their thoughts
from their speech. The two can be
separated around the age of seven.
4 Vygotsky stated that communication with
words increased learning and cognitive
development exponentially.
5 He also saw instruction as paramount to
learning and a child as an apprentice,
learning about the world from the help of
6 One of Vygotsky's hypotheses was that 3 SavageRumburgh supported Vygotsky by
there is a difference between what you can demonstrating that chimps could improve
achieve by yourself and what you can cognitive development after social
achieve with the help of `more interaction with humans.
knowledgeable others'. Vygotsky called
this the zone of proximal development.
4 However, the ethics of using animals in
experiments is debatable because they
cannot give consent.
5 Also, humans are more cognitively
developed than chimps therefore ways of
learning cannot necessarily be compared.
6 Vygotsky did not suggest how more
knowledgeable others lead development.
Later research by Brunner suggested a
process called scaffolding. This involves
interesting the child in the task, then
demonstrating it and then allowing the child
to try whilst gradually removing support.
7 This theory can explain why children develop
at different rates and suggests that Piaget's

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Vygotsky's Explanation For Cognitive Development ­ Andrew F
staged theory is limited.
8 In application, scaffolding is widely
incorporated into the education system, for
example the use of peer teaching in
secondary schools.
9 However, if scaffolding really occurred as
Brunner described, it should be possible to
scaffold a baby to be intelligent at an adult
level, however this has not occurred. This
suggests that a degree of biology is
involved.…read more

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