The zone of proximal development
The zone of proximal development is one of the most important concept of Vygotsky’s sociocultural perspective. The zone of proximal development is the area between the child’s current development level “as determined by independent problem solving”and level of development that child could achieve “through adult guildance or in collaboration with more capable peers”. It describe the proper level children could achieve.
Rather than seeing learning and development as two independent processes as Piaget, Vygotsky believe taht the processes rely on each other. We must teach the child depend on his or her development level. So the most important thing is to know the children’s current development level. Thus,Vygotsky put forward the concept of the zone of proximal development. From the definition, we know it is an dynamic (动态的) concept. That is the zone of proximal development of each child is different, and one child’s zone of proximal development in different situation and different time is different. Vygotsky point out that education in some degree is development. What we must care is the forming development process rather than the finished development process. Only going ahead of development can education make the greatest contribution to development.
In Vygotsky’s sociocultural perspective, he emphasize the importance of culture for children’s cognitive development, he believeed that human activities take place in cultural settings and cannot understood apart from these settings. One of his key ideas was that our specific mental structure and processes can be traced to our interactions with others, and cannot happen without others. All our mental structures and processes are co-constructed during shared activities with others, then the processes are internalized by the children and become part of the children’s cognitive development. Differ from Piaget , he emphasize the importance of more capable people such as teachers and parents rather than peers. Apprenticeships is an old form of teaching, indicating the importance of teachera. In fact, according to the zone of proximal development theory, work with classmates who are a little more capable is most helpful.
The zone of proximal development theory is meaningful in educational area. As a teacher, we must be clear about children’s component, learning style and attitude, temperament and so on. This is the level the students already have, and we can foresee the children’s potential ability according to it. Then teacher can arrange proper tasks, neither too easy nor too difficult. Teachers give students the guidance to lead students to finish the tasks. After some exercise, teacher let students do it independently. During the process, students make progress. Besides, during the zone of proximal development, students are most creativity and active, they feel confident and interested in.
Vygotsky died when he was only 38 years old, and he had not have time to make detais of his theory. Many years later , with the lasting efforts of many psychologists ,his theory has make great contribution to today’s education, and widely