Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Vygtosky's Zone of Proximal Development (Emilea Bade)

Prior to reading this article I had talked about Vygotsky and the zone of proximal development in several of my other classes that I have taken. My understanding of the zone of proximal development before this reading was that it was the space between what a child can do on their own and what they can do with someone to help them. I did have the basic idea of what the zpd was, but reading this article re-enforced some of the details and also presented me with new information on the topic. One of the things that was interesting to me was when he went into detail about the actual developmental level. It was interesting to learn more about this end of the spectrum in zpd. I also really liked the example of the two students who were at the same actual developmental level; however, when assigned a task that they were helped with they had different success rates. These students had the same actual developmental level but they had different zones of proximal development.
One example from my field experience that makes me think of zpd is one of my students, Jacob. Jacob is in first grade and when counting by ones Jacob can independently look at a certain number of objects in front of him and count them aloud. He always counts correctly and gives me the right answer. However, when I give Jacob a starting number and ask him to add more to it he cannot do it without having the visual items in front of him to count one-by-one. However, when I hold up my fingers and help him count them to find the answer he can eventually solve the problem. This shows Jacob's zpd for counting by ones because he can count objects by himself but needs help counting on. As time has gone on Jacobs skills have been developing because he can count on using my fingers more independently each time he tries.

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