GoogleTranslate Service


Looking further at Vygotsky’s ideas

November 11th, 2009 by Jo Turner-Attwell

I wrote about Vygotsky and the Zone of Proximal Development quite a long time ago now, but recently I’ve re-read some of the feedback I received, particularly that from Stephen Downs.

In particular I think its important to look at the role of the ‘teacher’ within Vygotsky’s theory as it was one of the major flaws that a ‘teacher’ was necessary for the process to take place and it seemed to disregard ‘individual’ learning which is also an important process.

Now where my argument with this arises is what is meant by a teacher? Does a teacher necessarily need to be a physical person or can a book or internet sources be also counted as a form of ‘teacher’, particularly with the rise of things like internet courses. I mean when you look at things technically, when one is learning ‘individually’ from books or internet, yes the person is carrying out the learning themselves but they still have assistance from another person in the person who has recorded or discovered these things. In essence they are still learning from others and then further it into their own ideas and opinions from there, as in Vygotsky’s theory of Zone of Proximal Development. In that sense the Zone of Proximal Development changes in that it does not need to be led by one teacher but in fact students have the ability to channel their own ZPD in the direction they so choose by drawing upon resources. This is particularly important now that social networking and internet are so easy to use, students are able to reach the top of their ZPD using such resources.

An example of this is maybe the way computers or new technology progresses, the first computer looked incredibly different to laptops today and change is made through studying current systems and building on ideas and then introducing new ones. The further thoughts and ideas progress the further the room for us to learn and reflect to build upon that learning.

Please follow and like us:

4 Responses to “Looking further at Vygotsky’s ideas”

  1. In activity theory which is strongly based on Vygotsky’s thoughts, learning is seen as a social issue. I have read books and articles concerning activity theory quite a lot recently, and I have understood this ‘social’ doesn’t necessarily mean that someone has to interact with others (talking with them, sending messages etc.) or for example study in a group to ‘learn socially’ (even though I have noticed that usually it is predicted this way). When someone reads a book or web pages, listens to a lecture, he/she is involved in a social process, since what has been produced earlier has always the social aspect within it – it contains the whole culture where it is produced in.

    So, I would assume that ZPD doesn’t have to be led by a teacher, it can be also achieved by the learner him/herself (when reading, for example, texts produced by others). I remember reading from somewhere about an idea that when a learner is in state of flow (Csíkszentmihályi) and learning is easy, he/she might also be experiencing learning in the ZPD.

  2. jen hughes says:

    Hi Jo
    Vygotsky defined those who are scaffold learners as the “More Knowledgeable Other.” The MKO, according to Vig, is anyone who has a better understanding or a higher ability level than the learner, particularly in regards to a specific task, concept or process. Traditionally the MKO is thought of as a teacher or an older adult. However, this is not always the case. Other possibilities for the MKO could be a peer, sibling, a younger person, or even a text, the internet, a community or whatever. The key to MKO (according to V) is that ‘they’ must have more knowledge about the topic being learned than the learner does. Not sure I agree with him on this. In fact, come to think of it, I most definitely disagree.

    I guess I am less interested in specific ideas of Vigotsky, such as ZPD, and more interested in how all his educational theories link together – which I find a bit problematic. That is, each bit on its own is plausible but the coherence of the whole is dodgy. It works only if you accept all his assumptions (and there are a lot!) so it all becomes a bit of a self fulfilling prophecy. If this, this, this and several hundred more this-es, then this. (In fact, if you look closely there are a several contradictions between his Theory of Learning, Theory of Value, Theory of Human Nature, Theory of Knowledge, Theory of Transmission, Theory of Opportunity, Theory of Society, Theory of Consensus etc)

    (e.g All his theory of Value stuff is predicated on the idea of each child as an individual who learns distinctively but fudged together in his Theory of Human Nature with the Marxist idea of man as a collectivity, the product of a set of social relations determined by class, culture and time rather than being inherent in each single individual.)

    My biggest problem with his work is that he seems to totally discount the biological so….

    “…specific functions are not given to a person at birth but are only provided as cultural and social patterns.”

    Uh?

    From this (eventually) he argues that learning processes lead to (mental and physical) development i.e learning precedes development. This is diametrically opposed to Piaget who figured it was the other way around – that learning results from both mental and physical maturation plus experience. That is, development precedes learning.

    After a lifetime of working with kids, I’d settle for Piaget (except when he is arguing with Chomsky about thought preceding language or vice versa in which case I’d side with Chomsky who more or less sided with Vigotsky on the language issue!)

    Am interested in why you are so interested in Vigotsky? ; )

  3. Jen Hughes says:

    PS

    Jo – I seem to remember there is a guy called Sergei Rubinstein who was a critic of Big Lev who agreed with you about the need (or not) for teaching / mediation in the learning process. Might be worth checking him out!!

Tweetbacks

  1. “students have the ability to channel their own ZPD in the direction they so choose by drawing upon resources” http://tinyurl.com/yfa275c

  • Search Pontydysgu.org

    Social Media




    News Bites

    Cyborg patented?

    Forbes reports that Microsoft has obtained a patent for a “conversational chatbot of a specific person” created from images, recordings, participation in social networks, emails, letters, etc., coupled with the possible generation of a 2D or 3D model of the person.

    Please follow and like us:


    Racial bias in algorithms

    From the UK Open Data Institute’s Week in Data newsletter

    This week, Twitter apologised for racial bias within its image-cropping algorithm. The feature is designed to automatically crop images to highlight focal points – including faces. But, Twitter users discovered that, in practice, white faces were focused on, and black faces were cropped out. And, Twitter isn’t the only platform struggling with its algorithm – YouTube has also announced plans to bring back higher levels of human moderation for removing content, after its AI-centred approach resulted in over-censorship, with videos being removed at far higher rates than with human moderators.

    Please follow and like us:


    Gap between rich and poor university students widest for 12 years

    Via The Canary.

    The gap between poor students and their more affluent peers attending university has widened to its largest point for 12 years, according to data published by the Department for Education (DfE).

    Better-off pupils are significantly more likely to go to university than their more disadvantaged peers. And the gap between the two groups – 18.8 percentage points – is the widest it’s been since 2006/07.

    The latest statistics show that 26.3% of pupils eligible for FSMs went on to university in 2018/19, compared with 45.1% of those who did not receive free meals. Only 12.7% of white British males who were eligible for FSMs went to university by the age of 19. The progression rate has fallen slightly for the first time since 2011/12, according to the DfE analysis.

    Please follow and like us:


    Quality Training

    From Raconteur. A recent report by global learning consultancy Kineo examined the learning intentions of 8,000 employees across 13 different industries. It found a huge gap between the quality of training offered and the needs of employees. Of those surveyed, 85 per cent said they , with only 16 per cent of employees finding the learning programmes offered by their employers effective.

    Please follow and like us:


    Other Pontydysgu Spaces

    • Pontydysgu on the Web

      pbwiki
      Our Wikispace for teaching and learning
      Sounds of the Bazaar Radio LIVE
      Join our Sounds of the Bazaar Facebook goup. Just click on the logo above.

      We will be at Online Educa Berlin 2015. See the info above. The stream URL to play in your application is Stream URL or go to our new stream webpage here SoB Stream Page.

      Please follow and like us:
  • Twitter

    RT @The_TUC Pay: • 1997-2009: real pay grew by 24% (£96 a week) • 2009-2021: real pay grew by 0% (£0 per week) We need a proper pay rise.

    About 8 hours ago from Graham Attwell's Twitter via Twitter for Mac

  • @SE_Lomer Thanks. Loved his paper on method

    About 14 hours ago from Cristina Costa's Twitter via TweetDeck

  • Recent Posts

  • Archives

  • Meta

  • Categories