Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Hannah: Vygotsky and ZPD

I think this article clarified a little about Zone of Proximal Development for me. Now to my understanding ZPD is the distance or the part between what the student can achieve on their own and then the tasks they are capable of completing with guidance. While this article was kind of difficult it helped break down Vygotsky’s idea. The article also mentioned that mimicking was also beneficial for students. If they can “copy” the teacher then there is a chance they can actually complete it on their own after additional instruction. I remember in the first class we started talking about his ideas I seemed to be completely lost and thought I would just move on from it but I am now realizing we talk about him in many classes so I’m glad I’m starting to understand it all a little bit more!
I have found for me right now in almost all of my classes that having the guidance of someone else is very beneficial. Whether it is working in a group or having the professor guide me I’m able to learn and understand more while working with someone else. For instance in our math class we are counting in base 5. When this idea was completely absurd to me at first I have been able to discuss with my group and learn more. Several times I have had slippage as our professor calls it and have been reminded to keep it in base 5. The Zone of Proximal Development is relevant here because its not that I can’t calculate in base 5 it’s just that it is difficult and sometimes need help thinking of how it works.
I also found it interesting what Vygotsky said about a student mimicking the teacher. In my field experience there is a little boy who is really struggling with the math concepts we are doing but I know he is capable. The first time we went over he was able to copy what I did, the next time he still had trouble but he was able to find the answer through guided instruction. The point of what he can do on his own and the point of what he has potential of doing seems to be very wide but I think this might be a good thing. One day he will probably be able to do what he needs help with alone!

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