Monday, September 28, 2009

Vygotsky’s theory on zone of proximal is very interesting and can be very hard to understand. Vygotsky’s approach to learning is one that is unique. He believes that you must have the understanding of a child’s actual development and a child’s development that they are in the process of learning. A child learns when they are in engaged in meaningful activities. The Zone of proximal development is the difference between what a child already knows and what they can learn with assistance. It is important that as educators we look at both a student’s actual development that is obtained in testing and also provide learning opportunities and support for all students to maximize the zone of proximal development. For example, in a 1st grade classroom you will have many students who are at different levels of learning. It is important that when teaching a subject such as addition, the teacher provide multiple supports: visual aids, lectures, and/or worksheets for all students. This support provides the guidance that is needed for a student to achieve their zone of proximal development. When I relate my own learning to the ZPD theory the subject of math comes to mind. In the topic of math, there is only so far I can go before it is necessary for me to have the guidance or support that I need to do complicated math problems, i.e., calculus. When I finished my math career in high school, I was in pre-calculus. Therefore, being challenged in an area of higher math such as calculus, I would need support by the instructor in order to complete it. It took work to get to this point. I would not have been able to go so far in math without the proper development problems and assistance from my classmates. That is also important when teaching others. As an educator it is important that I provide the guidance and support for all students that will be in my classroom. Without the proper guidance for the student’s development, the student will not have the opportunity to link their actual development (which is information that they know) with the new and exciting concepts that await them in their educational experience. Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal development is just one of the theories that allows educators to further understand the way we as humans learn and grow.

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