I know that Vygotsky's Zone of Proximal Development is the distance between the actual developmental level as determined by independent problem solving and the level of potential development as determined through problem solving under adult guidance or in collaboration with more capable problems. I feel that this is an important concept to future educators because it posits a way to think about children's learning. Teachers should be forced to think about their student's learning because the teacher's instruction should take place within the student's Zone of Proximal Development. I feel that the Zone of Proximal Development is a great concept because it allows a child opportunities to move forward in their learning with assistance from someone who is more experienced in that subject manner.
Until now, I have never really thought about how the Zone of Proximal Development was incorporated in my very own education, as well as before my education had even began. The reading stated that children learn both before formal schooling and through imitation through the Zone of Proximal Development. I can see how both of these aspects are relevant to my own learning. I know that I learned so much from my mother when I was younger just by imitating her. I was an only child for seven years and my dad worked late nights and long weekends, so therefore she and I spent a great deal of time together. I can see myself in her how and the things that I have learned from her.
I can also see how I have learned through imitation as I look back on how I was taught mathematics in elementary school and grade school. From First grade until 12th grade the teacher always wrote the problems on the board and taugh us through examples. Then we would imitate them by doing problems of our own. I remember learning very well this way. I always loved math and felt that it was always my best subject. And now that I think about it, it may be because I learn better with the help of someone who is more knowledgeable on that subject rather than having to think all on my own ( i.e. writing papers or reading stories).
I also remember another time the Zone of Proximal Development was included in my education. When I was in 8th grade the math teacher challenged us to work at a high level. The levels could be anywhere between and advanced 8th grade level and an 11th grade level, depending on how well we could completely the math assignments with her assistance. If we were able to gain some type of grasp on the material, she would challenge us to stay at that level and work at it until we mastered it.