I know the Zone of Proximal Development to be the difference between what a person can accomplish on their own and what they can accomplish with the help of another person. The first time I was introduced to this concept was in my Educational Psychology class and at first I was very confused about the topic. However, it has been mentioned in nearly every single class I have had since then and by seeing numerous examples the idea has become clearer. The article for this class was very confusing and if I had not already had some concept of what ZPD is it would have been difficult for me to follow the author’s ideas. One idea I think is crucial to growing a child’s ZPD is scaffolding. This idea is another that was confusing at first but I now see how important it is in a child’s educational experience. Lastly, I also understand that although it is most commonly a teacher that helps a child reach their ZPD I also think another child who is more advanced in that certain area can help scaffold a child as well.
I know that growing up there were experiences where the teacher used the ZPD and scaffolding to assess my learning as well as teach me. One time I remember specifically was in fourth grade in regards to long division. The teacher would show the whole class how to do a problem, then she would meet individually with us and have us do a problem. She was able to see how much we understood and could do on our own and be able to help us when we needed it to finish the problem. Also in college ZPD and scaffolding have been used. Before my M-201 class this semester I had no idea how to write a lesson plan, but through discussion, meeting, examples, and templates my instructor has helped my ability to write lesson plans grow immensely.
Overall, I think Vygotsky’s ideas were very valid and still relevant in the classroom today. I think that ZPD can also be very helpful when assessing children with disabilities as it gives a teacher insight into what a child knows and allows the teacher an opportunity to focus on what they do not.