Vygotsky’s theory indicated that development occurred through the interaction between a learner and the surrounding culture (Sigelman and Rider 2009). Based on Vygotsky’s theory, learning is a social process as it takes place through this interaction. Vygotsky came up with the notion of “zone of proximal development” which argued that with assistance children can accomplish tasks that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to do so independently. (Kravtsova 2009) Through the mentors and mentees, I have the pleasure to witness it at work. The mentees are capable of applying the skills that they learn from their mentors independently once they have acquired it through this learning process. The feedback and role modeling that the mentees get from their mentors help with their cognitive development which in time will foster their self-esteem.
One of the points that lead many to imply about this theory is that the process is unique to each individual because every one’s learning and development will be different from others as it depends on their interaction to their culture. Instead of assuming everyone goes through the same stage of development, Vygotsky valued the importance of individuality as the result of the each one’s unique social interaction. (Kravtsova 2009) I am attracted to this theory but I wonder if this theory place the same emphasis on nature and nurture equally. If the development is unique to each individual due to the social process between individual and its culture, wouldn’t the individual and the culture affect each other? For example: a person’s ability to comprehend will affect the culture’s reaction to the individual (nature) or the culture and the social interaction improves the individual’s ability to comprehend (nurture).
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