Vygotsky and the Zone of Proximal Development

Vygotsky and the Zone of Proximal Development

Susan Gebhard (University of North Carolina at Pembroke, USA)
Copyright: © 2008 |Pages: 3
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-881-9.ch148
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Abstract

Thinkers throughout history have surmised that humans exist most fully in communion with others. Learners mimic or model, read or reflect, and listen or lecture within a social context; therefore educational experiences,traditional or technology based,ought not to discount the interplay between shared experience, individual’s attitudes, and relational understandings. The theories of learning that emphasize this kind of interpersonal interaction, the necessity of collaboration and collegiality, a reliance on social reference points, and intentional modeling have had various nomenclatures (Rogoff & Lave, 1984). Vygotsky’s (1978) seminal work is commonly referred to as “social cognition” or “social constructivism.”

Key Terms in this Chapter

Vygotsky and the zone of proximal development: Commonly referred to as “social cognition” or “social constructivism,” Vygotsky’s theories of learning emphasize interpersonal interaction, the necessity of collaboration and collegiality, a reliance on social reference points, and intentional modeling. These ideas include descriptions of the “zone of proximal development” (ZPD), the distance between what a learner can do independently and what he or she is capable of accomplishing with more expert assistance.

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