Professor Kara Bullock
October 12, 2010
Sociocultural Learning Affects the Development of Children
Lev Vygotsky believed that children learn from their own experience. As a teacher I have grown to learn that Vygotsky’s findings are true in so many ways. Just from watching the children in my classroom I see that the Zone of Proximal Development and Scaffolding play a huge part in the development of a child. Lev Vygotsky has had increasing influence on the practices of early childhood professionals. (Morrison, 2009). The work of the Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky provided the grounds for the use of sociocultural learning theory. Vygotsky emphasized the vibrant interdependence between the social and individual procedures in learning. Vygotsky's work emphasized 3 major themes. First, he opposed that cognitive development is rooted in social interactions and refereed by nonconcrete symbols, which he referred to as tools. Second, Vygotsky stated that these tools are not created in seclusion but rather are products of the sociocultural growth of an aggressively involved individual. Third, Vygotsky viewed learning as a developmental or genetic process. This overall innate law of cultural development stressed the importance of concentrating on the process by which higher functioning is established. Vygotsky is best known for being an educational psychologist with a sociocultural theory. The sociocultural theory suggests that social interaction leads to continuous step-by-step changes in the thoughts of children and their behavior that can vary from culture to culture. He believed that adults and more expert peers help children master culturally meaningful activities; the communication between them becomes part of children’s thinking. (Berk, 2008). Basically Vygotsky's theory recommends that development depends on interaction with people and the tools that the culture provides to help form their own view of the world. There are three ways a cultural tool can be passed from one individual to another. The first one is imitative learning. This type of learning is where one person tries to mimic or copy another. The second way is by instructed learning. Constructive learning involves memorizing the directions of the teacher and then using these directions to gain self- control. The final way that cultural tools are passed to others is through shared learning, which involves a group of peers who attempt to understand each other and work together to learn a particular skill. Vygotsky’s theory also combines the social environment and intellect. Children obtain the ways of thinking and behaving that make up a culture by working together with a more experienced person. Vygotsky believed that social interaction will lead to ongoing changes in a child's thought and behavior. The sociocultural theory consists of several components to help implement it. Vygotsky has four major principles that is the foundation of the structure of his theory. First, he states that children construct their own knowledge. Children learn from socializing and interacting with others. Secondly, development can’t be alienated from its common background. The child’s development depends on his interaction with his own kind. Third, learning can lead to development. The fourth is that language plays a central role in mental development. Contemplate secluded speech, where children speak to themselves to plan or guide their own behavior. This is most common among preschoolers, who have not yet learned proper social skills but rather explore the idea of it. Children often use private speech when a task becomes too difficult and the child doesn't know how to proceed. Private speech helps the child accomplish a task. Vygotsky believed private speech changes with age, by becoming softer or being just a whisper. Children start out speaking low because they are unsure how it...