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Lev Vygotsky’s Cognitive-Mediation Theory

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Julia Champion

on 9 October 2013

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Transcript of Lev Vygotsky’s Cognitive-Mediation Theory

In Conclusion...
Overall the ZPD is ideal to keep in mind when teaching children. It is the most effective way to learn.

As Vygotsky said, "What the child is able to do in collaboration today, he will be able to do independently tomorrow."
Applying Vygotsky's ZPD theory in the Classroom
Who is Vygotsky?
A man who is known for his theories on cognitive development which involve exploring the significance of culture, language development, and the use of cognitive development in the classroom.
Lev Vygotsky and his work
In order to keep the learning within a student's ZPD, the new teachings should allow the student to add new skills onto the ones he or she already has. The material shouldn't be too easy or too hard, but somewhere in the middle.
Jean Piaget Vs. Lev Vygotsky
Project put together by: Liz, Karli, Rachel, Julia, Emily and Jessie
Jean Piaget Vs. Lev Vygotsky

Jean Piaget
- There is an endpoint to cognitive development birth to adolescence.

- A child acts on his own environment for learning

- Child’s solo mind

- Hands on activities also aid in learning

- A child’s constructs his/her own knowledge

The ZPD can be thought of as a median between what a child can do on their own and what they can do with added assistance.
Lev Vygotsky
- Cognitive development: Learning begins at birth and ends at death

- Social development influences cognitive development

- A child is scaffolded by an adult or peer who is more capable than the child

He is also known as one of the founders of special education. Why you may ask?
Every person learns differently. Obtaining and retaining information can be simple or more challenging to others. However, the Zone of Proximal Development is a term given to us by Vygotsky, who believes all people learn best within the zone.
History of Vygotsky

His writings were banned, while Stalin was in power (1879-1953), but Jean Piaget created a growing influence of his works and studies.

Received his degree in law and specialized in literature from Moscow University in 1917.

Studied Disciplines at Skinyavskii University including history, psychology, and philosophy.
Zone of Proximal Development: This is known as the instructional level, students learn best when the information is just above what they already know.
Level of Potential Development: This is the level at which a student cannot independently do the new task at hand, but can with the help of a teacher or someone who can comprehend it. Teaching at this level will not result in retaining or learning the information well.
Freund Experiment (1990)
-children had to decide which items of furniture should be placed in particular areas of a dolls house

-some children were allowed to play with their mothers in a similar situation before attempting it by themselves-ZPD

-others were allowed to work on it by themselves

Current Applications & Vygotsky's Contribution
Lev Vygotsky's Theory on Child Development
Prezi by: Emily, Julia, Jessie, Karli, Liz, and Rachel
Jean Piaget Vs. Lev Vygotsky
-those who had previously worked with their mothers showed greatest improvement compared with their first attempt-ZPD

-guided learning within the ZPD led to greater understanding/performance than working alone
Experiment Continued
Level of Actual Development: This is known as the independent level, describes skills a person can already independently use. Learning at this level is not a challenge.
He had strong opinions towards children being integrated and learning together whether they had special needs or not.
According to Vygotsky, the ZPD is the "'sweet spot'' in which learning will be the most beneficial. The new teachings should be just above what the child already knows how to do on their own.
-”Reciprocal Teaching”


-use of technology in learning

-not given same level of
consideration of Piaget

-relevant to most cultures

To be better understood, there are three levels of development that are centered around the ZPD. They are the following:
Highest Level
Vygotsky believed that kids developed most effectively when they were involved with tasks within their zone of proximal development.
Paiget Vs. Vygotsky
What is the zone of proximal development?
Vygotsky defines the zone of proximal development as, “the distance between the actual developmental level as determined by independent problem solving and the level of potential development as determined through problem solving under adult guidance or in collaboration with more capable peers” (Vygotsky)
Middle Level
Use large and small group instruction with students
Present specific content to students
Teach children content in different ways so the students understand how to use what is being taught
Allow for time for students to explore and learn about the materials given to them
Give the students time to reflect after lectures
Zone of Proximal Development
Regarding special education, students' levels of independence should be measured rather than weaknesses.
He suggested that teachers make it a main goal to reinforce positive attitudes in the classroom
Students should be encouraged to be independent
The social barrier is their biggest obstacle
Zone of Proximal Development Continued
Vygotsky first realized that the ZPD was the most effective way to learn as he watched children's social interactions with a parent or important figure in their life. He found that sharing these experiences with someone who had experienced them as well better shaped the child's thought process and initiated learning.
He believes all people learn best in the "journey of their constantly evolving ZPD".
Zone of Proximal Development
Vygotsky also believed development stems from relationships and social activities and that it was significant to research development in natural environments.
Over time Vygotsky's ideas have been expanded upon by other theorists, and have been applied worldwide.
Lowest Level
Images URL's
Natalia Keritsis (2007). Part II. Sociocultural Theory: Four Basic Principles Underlying the Vygotskian Framework. Received from http://www.slideshare.net/KNatalia/lev-vygotsky-and-sociocultural-theory
Example of Applied ZPD
Teaching instructors at the
Virginia Department of Education's
training and Technical Assistance center incorporate these same concepts into teaching methods.

- Malone, Delores M. ED. (Accessed October 2nd, 2013) Jean Piaget Vs. Lev Vygotsky; Differing Views in Cognitive Development. [Online Presentation.]
- URL: http://www.oakton.edu/user/1/dmalone/PiagetVygot.pdf
Haines, R. (2009). Vygotsky, Lev Semenovich 1896-1939 Bibliography. Education.com. Retrieved on September 9th, 2013 from http://www.education.com/reference/article/vygotsky-lev-semenovich- 1896-1934/
Lui, Angela. (2012). Teaching in the Zone. [Online Presentation.] Children's Progress.
Haynes, Phyllis, Ph. D. (2011)"Get in the Zone'. Virginia Department of Education's Training & Technical Assistance Center.
McLeod, S. A. (2007). Vygotsky - Simply Psychology. Retrieved from http://www.simplypsychology.org/vygotsky.html
Sociocultural Theory
Lev Vygotsky

Sociocultural theory grew from the work of seminal psychologist Lev Vygotsky, who believed that parents, caregivers, peers and the culture at large were responsible for the development of higher order functions;

Hence, the focus of the sociocultural perspective is on the roles that participation in social interactions and culturally organized activities play in influencing psychological development. While much of the framework for sociocultural theory was put forth by Lev Vygotsky (1931/1997), it was completed and developed by other scholars.

Sociocultural Thoery
Functions in the child’s development form in two stages, first, It appears on the social stage that is when child learns how to behave from outside world.
Second, it is the psychological stage, that when child transfer those outside impact into inside.

First one is between people and surrounding (interpsychological) and then second one is inside the children themselves (intrapsychological) .
1. children construct their
own knowledge
In Vygosky’s perspective, human behaviors are formed by the combination of their social and cultural aspects. Children construct their own knowledge based on their own family, cultural and other backgrounds.
The emphasis on the influence of social interaction is the highlight of the theory, the theory stresses that although child’s behavior is different under different cultural backgrounds, but social interaction is one of the key factors that have great influence on child’s continuous development.

2. development cannot be separated from its social context
3. learning can lead development
In Vygotsky’s point of view, pedagogy creates a learning process that leads to the development and results in zones of proximal development. This concept means that children can finish a task that they cannot do by themselves, but with the help of a more experienced or skilled person.

In this theory, Vygotsky proved that learning process helps solving problems and encourage children’s potential. The result is that children become more active and socialized and lead to a more successful cognitive development.
4. language plays a central role
in mental development
During the intrapsychological process, psychological tools played an important role between the low-level and high-level psychological function. Psychological tools mainly refer to a variety of symbols, like words, marks, languages, etc. And language is one of the most important.
The mental activities in early childhood are more direct, unconscious, low-level, and natural. Only after child can use the language as a tool can they start to transfer the social psychological function to something more indirect, conscious, and advanced. While during this process, language plays a vital role to complete the transfer from low-level psychological function to high-level ones.






Natalia Keritsis (2007). Part II. Sociocultural Theory: Four Basic Principles Underlying the Vygotskian Framework. Received from http://www.slideshare.net/KNatalia/lev-vygotsky-and-sociocultural-theory

Sarah Scott (2013). Part I. Sociocultural Theory: The Historical Roots of Sociocultural Theory. Received from http://www.education.com/reference/article/sociocultural-theory/

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