Implementing Vygotsky's Model of Child Development

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Implementing Vygotsky's Social Learning Theory in the Classroom

Jodi Zeman

Growing and Learning Theories VTE-ED 571

October 25, 2010

Sheryl Bunn


Implementing Vygotsky’s Social Learning Theory in the Classroom

Contrary to Sigmund Freud's theory, Lev Vygotsky's concept is anchored in the idea that a child learns new complex tasks from a more advanced adult or sibling helping him or her through these new situations.  His cognitive-developmental approach based on an idea Jerome Bruner later labeled "scaffolding" (Wood, Bruner, & Ross, 1976).   This person leads the child through tasks that might otherwise be too advanced for a developing child alone, but with the guidance and help from the leader these are attainable.  This gives the child a guide as he or she progresses and eventually begins to conquer problems or new tasks independently.  A large part of the success of the child has to do with the structure or "scaffolding" the child has in place to help him or her along the journey thus making social interaction a vital part of his theory.  This concept applies directly to the high school physical education "classroom".  There are unique challenges that a teacher comes across when trying to use traditional instructional methods in an atypical classroom.  The learning environment is not always conducive to the educator communicating important points with visual, audio and tactile cues to help.  There is no "note taking" or list of terms on the whiteboard used to offer reinforcement. 

Instead of an educator lecturing the theories and fundamental rules involved in an activity, the teacher must take an active role to engage with the students.  Vygotsky's approach is very hands-on, in that there is no formal distance between the teacher and the

students in instruction.  The teacher interacts with the students and helps them to complete tasks that might otherwise be more advanced than...
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