Vygotsky on the Importance of Social Learning to Cognitive Development

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Vygotsky – AO2
Vygotsky may have overplayed importance on social influences because he suggests that child’s cognitive development occurs through social interactions, for example children do internalisation of problem solving via mutual interactions. However, if social learning is the essence of cognitive development then learning would be a lot faster than it is. Thus Vygotsky ignores the biological aspects that aid or restricts the cognitive development such as the development of brain and maturation. Therefore Piaget’s theory of cognitive development is different to Vygotsky’s as it focuses on the biological concepts to explain the cognitive development. Therefore combining both theories would be a better explanation for cognitive development. Vygotsky’s theory implies that development can be artificially accelerated by guidance and social interaction however this is not always the case; children often only learn when they are ready to learn as much as their brain allows them. He proposed that cognitive skills were promoted by social interaction and that this could determine the age at which the stages were reached as in Piaget’s. A child’s biological processes, the way the child’s brain works may restrict him/her from developing; this is what Vygotsky fails to explain. A better, more rounded idea would be both Piaget’s and Vygotsky’s theory together; it would explain Piaget’s stages of development along side how some children are more developed than others through Vygostky’s idea of social interaction being key; a balanced mix of nature and nature. Despite the numerous studies used to explain cognitive development very little research supports Vygosky theory in comparison to Piaget’s theory. This is because Vygosky’s explanations are vague and difficult to operationalize for example social interaction which is poorly descried and therefore difficult to measure. Vygosky suggests that only social influences are needed to encourage cognitive growth which should...
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