Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Natalie DiSalvo!

Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) has been used for quite some time. I had never really heard or Vygotsky until I came to Indiana University, but ever since I have been here, I hear about Vygotsky and his marvelous stages. As we have studied over the past few years, Vygotsky’s ZPD is the idea of a child gradually being able to have the ability to achieve certain tasks without help or assistance. The difference between what one can do and what one cannot do without guidance is what the ZPD is. Whenever I hear about the ZPD, I think of scaffolding and how one can use scaffolding to assist a child until they no longer need the assistance and are able to grasp the concept without help. As I look back at my own learning experiences, I can think of multiple examples in which the ZPD has taken place and I eventually reached a period in which I could accomplish the task individually. One example was when I was trying to learn how to play euchre. When I was younger, my older siblings would play euchre all the time when they had a big group of friends come over. Trying to fit in with the older group, I wanted to be able to play along with them and hang out with the older people. I would watch them and have them explain how the game worked. Over and over again, they would have to keep telling me what to put down and what to say when it came to my turn. Over about a couple of weeks, I finally grasped the concept of the game and can play on my own without any type of assistance. The feeling of being able to reach the goal and play on my own was a huge accomplishment for me. Another example of a learning experience that connects to the ZPD is when I was learning how to read. I am sure many people have had this experience, but when I was younger, I was extremely frustrated with reading. I was very slow and had trouble reading aloud. My parents would read with me and help me with my reading assignments at home every week until I thought that I could do it on my own. The one-on-one interaction and focus really seemed to help me and give me confidence. I am still a little slow, but I can read on my own without assistance! When I thought I understood the way to read, I then taught my younger sister how to which really proved that I mastered the basics of reading.

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