Vygotsky's Socio-Cultural Theory Analysis

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Evaluate Vygotsky’s Socio-cultural theory in educational practice. Lev Vygotsky was a famous Russian psychologist, who even though died at the age of 38, revolutionized developmental psychology and the field of educational psychology. Vygotsky’s theories were known for being ingenious as well as an inspiration to other psychologists for their subsequent research. Over the years, Vygotsky’s works were used as groundwork for various research and study in cognitive development and was proclaimed as the ‘Mozart of psychology’ by the scientist, Toulmin (Dolya, 2010). Further, Vygotsky noted the state of educational crisis that was ongoing because of the distinct division between instruction and the student’s psychological processes. He decided…show more content…
Vygotsky emphasized on the crucial role of socio-cultural factors taking place around the individual in developing higher mental processes, while acknowledging the necessity of biological factors. Learning, according to the SCT, is a process centered on the understanding and application of symbols in social settings. Moreover, Lantolf (2000) argued that one of the main concepts in SCT would be the mediation of the human mind, adding that Vygotsky referred the semiotics used in understanding the world as psychological tools. Besides, the capability to be able to make use of tools, either in extending physical or mental abilities, is what differentiates humans to animals. Psychological tools vary from culture and generations as they are subject to alteration depending on the needs and aspirations of the society’s individuals and include symbols, signs, plans, and primarily language. For instance, language is viewed as fundamental in the development of various abilities and mental processes, as it is the main medium used in transmitting information, feedbacks and feelings about specific…show more content…
Nonetheless, Vygotsky remains the one who developed this simple reflection into a theoretical statement known as the ZPD. It is believed that this decision of elaborating the ZPD lies in his disapproval in how the child’s intellectual capabilities were assessed and how achievement was evaluated (Wertsch, 1985). Vygotsky argued that the existing method of testing at the time, only established the actual level of development, but disregarded the potential learning ability of the child. The ZPD represents the learner’s higher mental functions “that are in the process of maturation, functions that will mature tomorrow but are currently in an embryonic state” (Dolya, 2010, p9). Further, Vygotsky (1978) defined the ZPD as a gap between the current level of development, which is characterized by the ability to carry out a task independently and the potential ability level, characterized by the capacity to carry out a task but only with guidance from others. Moll (1980) classified the ZPD as a concept that has a direct stance on practical use, may it be psychological testing or educational purposes and remains one of Vygotsky’s most important contributions to the field of
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