Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Amy Stone's ZPD

Children’s thinking can be thought of in two different zones. The first zone is the actual developmental level, which is the area of a child’s learning process in which they are able to complete problems and understand information independently. The thinking within this level has already been completed and fully developed. The second zone is the zone of proximal development. This is the area between where a child is able to problem solve independently and cannot complete problems at all. This space between their thinking can be scaffold by adult guidance and allows the student to complete the problem solving with help from others. This zone is not the space in which a child is to be taught about new subject but an area where they can gain more knowledge on areas that are not completely developed but are in the process of developing. By understanding the zone of proximal development within each child, as a facilitator of their learning, the teacher can provide scaffolds to help the students develop their thoughts further and solve issues independently that are in the process of budding.

Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development can be connected to my own thinking on an everyday basis. There are often several issues that are brought up in lectures that I understand the basis of but not the entire issue. When my peers or professor provides an example or explains the topic in their own words, something clicks to the point where I understand it completely. These are not issues that I have no previous concept about but are topics that I cannot understand independently. As the article stated the information about primates, they have no zone of proximal development. Humans are able to understand information further through imitation of the problems that they have a general understanding of. I think that the zone of proximal development is a very important stage in children’s development that needs to be taken into consideration. By providing students with scaffolding, the teacher is able to further their understanding of topics and allow their confidence to increase because they will be able to problem solve on their own. Constant learning allows the students to awaken parts of their internal developmental components and although learning is directly related to the zone of proximal development, they should never be thought of in equal measure. Every issue within learning has its own relation to the child’s development therefore they cannot be thought of as one in the same. Providing learning opportunities to help close the zone of proximal development is the best way to complete learning of several subjects.

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