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Vygotsky’s Theory of Development

Vygotsky’s Theory of Development

Human Development Views

The development of the human being comprises of moral, social, personal, physical. and cognitive development. The factors of nurture and nature affect the development of a person.  Continuous theories focus on the child’s social experiences, while discontinuous theories preview the inborn qualities, as opposed to the environmental factors. Various factors affect the development of a human being, including the aspects of ability, personality, culture, heredity, exceptionality, child rearing and environment. Theories of cognitive development proposed by Lev Vygotsky ad Jean Piaget form the basis of study of the child’s development processes and stages (Kozulin, Gindis, Ageyev, and Miller 522).

Cognitive Development Views of Piaget

Piaget viewed development as comprising of four distinct stages. Through accommodation and assimilation, various human beings are able to deal with the various factors that influence their individual lives. The proposed stages of development are: sensorimotor stage that occurs between the birth and 2 years of age, preoperational stage taking place between 2 to 7 years old, concreate operational stage that occurs between 7 to 11 years, and the operational stage that affects an individual after 11 years. At each particular stage, young people are able to differentiate what is morally right from what is wrong (Kozulin, Gindis, Ageyev, and Miller 523).

Modern Views of Piaget’s Theory

This theory has undergone criticism, because the child’s abilities are ignored and the stages are too broad. The opponents of this idea attribute development to the environmental and social influences on cognitive development. Piaget’s principles of teaching and various school curriculums have been supported (Kozulin, Gindis, Ageyev, and Miller 524).

Vygotsky’s Cognitive Development Views

Vygotsky attributed cognitive development to social development, which has its foundations in the interaction with the environment and other beings. During proximal development, a teacher or instructor aids and teaches how to learn. Children are able to undertake tasks based on their abilities with the teacher’s assistance (Kozulin 524).  Through the silent and vocal speech, children develop self-regulation, solve problems and internalize learning. The teachers play an important rol in providing various support structures to aid them in their learning process.

Personal and Social Development According to Erickson

Erikson developed basic eight stages. Stage 1 comprises of trust against mistrust developed as children interact with their guardians. Stage 2 comprises of autonomy against doubt experienced between the age of 18 months and 3 years. Stage 3 includes initiative against guilt (3-6 years), where children develop a sense of self through their interaction with the environment (Kozulin, Gindis, Ageyev, and Miller 525). Stage 4 comprises of industry against inferiority (6 – 12 years) characterized by the academic success and failure of the child. Stage 5 is about identity against role confusion, which is characterized by the adolescent stage. Stage 6 is intimacy against isolation, which marks the beginning of adulthood, while the final stage is integrity versus despair.

Important Research Ideas

There are many research ideas generated from the theoretical concepts and views put forth by Vygotsky. The studies are dependent on the concept of zone proximal development derived from the activities and tasks, which a student or a child can do independently and those that he can accomplish under the guidance and supervision of the teacher, competent peer or adult. The studies also propose that it is important for a teacher to master various levels concerning the child’s current position and direction of development. There are several implications derived from the zone of proximal development (Kozulin, Gindis, Ageyev, and Miller 525), which will be discussed further.

According to Vygotsky’s views, the educational curriculum should be developed in a way that promotes activities, which the children are able to tackle and handle on their own, and those which are beyond their scope. The activities that are beyond their scope will encourage them to seek help from their colleagues, hence building their cognitive senses. The teachings from the theories and their relevant applications suggest that a child is not prone to master everything, and a positive feedback is expected (Kozulin, Gindis, Ageyev, and Miller 525). It rather concludes that the development prospers based on activities and instructions that fall under the zone achieve positive effects.

Examples derived from some of the basic activities taugght to children include the child’s failure after several attempts to pronounce a certain letter correctly. Moreover, successive attempts to help the child master the sound will fail. Therefore, teachers should develop different tactics of teaching to ensure that all students understand the given concepts. Some positive impact is achieved by teachers when they insist that students should practice previous skills leant, while, at the same time, they introduce more complex concepts (Kozulin, Gindis, Ageyev, and Miller 525).

Teachers may be able to use the information derived from the levels, or the zones of proximal development, for the organization of various classroom activities through several means. They include instructions form part of the provision for practice in the proximal zone of development to groups or individual children. For instance, various hints towards the correct answers or decisions may be availed form the foundation of instructional activities through the various assessment processes. Various activities that are cooperative in nature assist groups of children to learn from each other (Kozulin, Gindis, Ageyev, and Miller 525).

In my opinion, it becomes essential for educators and teachers to monitor various cognitive development processes of children. It is through the associations that they gain skills, moral values and build their characters. Various factors stem from the parental expectations once they take their children to the learning institutions of different levels. Apart from the acquisition of knowledge, expectations arise to develop moral values that will assist them in the future. There is a great impact of educators on the type of moral values gained by the children (Kozulin, Gindis, Ageyev, and Miller 526).

Various stages in the development of a child consist of new challenges. These challenges help define the character of an individual. Therefore, the adaptation of various techniques when handling students across all the levels becomes possible. The use of practical examples and student-centered teaching produce various positive effects. As a result, children are able to promote and lead the learning process, thereby gaining from it. Therefore, the abovementioned factors suggest that the idea of the zone of proximal development should lead the teachers when they organize curriculums for young learners.


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