Vygotsky and Learning

Vygotsky and Learning




Vygotsky and Learning

Vygotsky’s on the Effect of Culture on Learning

Vygotsky is one of the key contributors in shaping what is currently the Social Development Theory. Vygotsky believed that the social environment contributed significantly towards cognitive development. He perceived language as a vital tool that served the dual purpose of communication as well as determining individual thought. Vygotsky stressed on cultural and social elements of learning. Certain sections of Vygotsky’s work have changed the face of education (Kozulin, 2007). Vygotsky proposed that learning was an essential and universal component of the process of constructing culturally relevant human psychological function. In other words, social learning precedes cognitive development. A core aspect of Vygotskian theory is the Zone of Proximal Development, or ZPD (Kozulin, 2007). Vygotsky proposed that instead of modeling child behavior, instructors teach children by cueing their actions or even illustrating the act. He stressed that the learning process should focus on simply rising above obstacles instead of merely copying the actions demonstrated by an older person.

Selected Task and ZPD

This assignment is designed for children between the ages of six and eight. The selected task is Show and Tell, a classroom activity in which all the students are expected to stand in front of the class and give a short presentation about a particular activity such as their hobbies, crafts, or parent occupations. One particular child, Brian was the beneficiary of scaffolding. He was aged seven and had trouble standing confidently in front of his colleagues. The amount of assistance awarded to this student is minimal. He was instructed to imagine the whole classroom as his most favorite location. Through visualization, he was able to overcome his confidence problem. Before this, he was very shy and reserved pupil, but after the scaffolding process, Brian became more outgoing and vocal.


Scaffolding within the learning context refers to a learning process developed to encourage a more effective level of learning. Scaffolding is the assistance given at the exact time when the learner understands a new concept (Kozulin, 2007). This support is tailored to cover the challenges of the student with the purpose of assisting them to attain their learning goals. Instructional scaffolding is the availing of sufficient support to enhance learning when the lessons introduce new concepts and skills. Some of the common types of scaffolding include availing resources, giving them a difficult task, and supplying students with templates and study guides.

Difference in Scaffolding across Cultures

Across the different cultures, there is a wide variety of scaffolding practices, but these can be categorized as hard and soft. Therefore, the type and extent of assisting children vary with the cultural values. In most Western cultures, children are given awarded soft assistance that involves close guidance and constructive feedback and reinforcement that eventually directs the learner in understanding and overcoming the problem. An emerging approach to this concept is reciprocal scaffolding (Kozulin, 2007). This type of support is also evident in Western cultures and involves close collaboration with peers to understand a particular issue. In less developed cultures such as those in Africa and the Orient, hard scaffolding is far more popular. In this type of support, students are prepared in various ways to handle the forthcoming learning challenges. This type of assistance is more directive rather than supportive and has the purpose of teaching the student elements of independence in addressing cognitive problems.



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Kozulin, A. (2007). Vygotsky’s educational theory in cultural context. UK: Cambridge University Press.

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