Why was Lev Vygotsky important to education?


Why was Lev Vygotsky important to education?

Vygotsky's contributions to psychology

Soviet psychologist Lev Vygotsky was known for his work in developmental psychology. He is remembered today as the founder of what is now called cultural-historical psychology, though he never had the chance to finish is initial research.

Answer and Explanation:

One of the biggest findings Lev Vygotsky made in psychology was the theory behind the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD). According to Vygotsky's theory, this zone describes the mid-point between a child being unable to complete a task and a child completed a task independently. It is within this zone that teachers must aid the student and help them bridge the gap in their skills. Further research into the ZPD has lead to the educational concept known as scaffolding. Scaffolding is a valuable instructional tool used by teachers to guide students from point A, where they cannot complete a task without help, to point B, where they can complete the task independently.

Consider an English teacher that assigns 3 essays across a semester. For the first essay, they will discuss at length the format and structure of an essay, including an graphic organizer so students can plug their information into a provided structure. For the second essay, they give a small reminder of the structure, with special attention paid to the areas where most student struggled. For the third essay, the teacher may merely tell them to write an essay with no extra instruction given or necessary. This is type of instruction is directly derived from Vygotsky's work in psychology, and incredibly valuable to teachers.

Learn more about this topic:

Zone of Proximal Development and Scaffolding in the Classroom


Chapter 4 / Lesson 7

Psychologist Lev Vygotsky developed a theory of cognitive development which focused on the role of culture in the development of higher mental functions. Several concepts arose from that theory that are important to classroom learning. This lesson will focus on two concepts: zone of proximal development and scaffolding.

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