Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development is a practice we continue to use today. The Zone of Proximal Development theory is the relationship between the actual developmental level found by solving solutions independently, and the developmental level when guided by an adult or peer to solve a problem. It helps show the process of learning. For instance teaching something today which the student cannot do independently and expanding the child’s understanding, in which the student will then learn with guidance and will be able to do by themselves tomorrow.
This theory is used constantly. Reflecting back, I can say I was taught using Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development. An example of this was in math class in eighth grade. My teacher wrote on the board five problems every day to start class. Then she would give us fifteen minutes to solve them. Two were review problems, two were about what we were in the middle of learning, and the last one was a problem which expanded the ideas that we were learning. She would then call on five people to go to the board and solve them for the class.
Every day, when I would do the problems on the board, I would understand the first two problems. They would be easy to do because they were a review for me. Then I would spend the most time working on problems we were learning. Most of the class got the first two problems correct, because those were the building blocks of the new unit. On the other hand, if people were stuck, our teacher would show us how to do the one we were not sure about by using one of our peer’s solutions on the board. She would walk through it by calling on students who did not go to the board and add in where she felt was necessary. She would also stop at every step to allow time for questions.
In my experience, the Zone of Proximal Development helped me expand my math skills. It gave me a chance to use the steps I had already known and provided a way to expand my knowledge of math. By constantly reviewing and discussing each step, my teacher was able to teach me. What were unfamiliar at first had become a piece of cake and just another skill I now know how to use. Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development is how I was able to learn and relate known knowledge to the unfamiliar.