Patricia Roberson PSY 504 Human Development Reaction Paper Chapter 10 Vygotsky’s Social-Historical Theory of Cognitive Development

In this chapter I was most impressed with Vygotsky’s ideas on self-guided speech. Since I had two weeks to write this paper, I decided to do a little “ministudy” of my own using the Sunday school children in my church for observation. I read this chapter two weeks ago, so I have used the past two Sundays to observe the behavior of my “clients”. The first Sunday, March 22nd, I visited our pre-K Sunday school class. This class was made up of seven children between the ages of three and five. I watched them playing and noticed that two children were using self-guided speech while playing. The first little boy was building with a set of blocks. He was giving himself directions as he attempted to build a wall of blocks. When he finished building the wall he told himself he was a truck driver and proceeded to drive his toy truck into the wall and knock it down. Just at Vygotsky described, he did not seem to care if anyone else was watching or not, he just enjoyed entertaining himself. My second child was a little girl who was playing house with her baby doll. She was carrying on a whole conversation with the doll, much like the conversation she had probably heard from her own mother. I know this child has a baby sister in her home, so I’m sure she was just repeating what she had heard her own mother say. This past Sunday, March 29, I visited our first and second grade Sunday school class. This class had eight children in attendance between the ages of six and eight. I first watched a six-year-old girl playing with her doll. She did not talk aloud in her playing, but it was obvious that she was thinking to herself the steps to feed and change the baby’s diaper. Next, I watched a seven-year-old girl playing in the toy kitchen area of the class. This child did not say a word aloud, but was very content playing alone and I could see the thought process on her face as she pretended to cook a meal and serve it to her doll. Most of the children sought out peers to talk to, but these two particular little girls were definitely using their inner-speech to entertain themselves. This activity was more helpful to me in understanding Vygotsky’s ideas than just reading the chapter. I never thought about the process of learning that goes on in a child’s mind internally before, but by watching these children play, found many of the ideas he described to be true. I wonder if the inventor of our modern GPS system that many of us have in our vehicles today, might have been a student of Vygotsky. After all, isn’t the voice we hear telling us where to turn, where to stop, etc, just an inner-voice giving us needed direction?

Crain, W. (2005). Theories of development: Concepts and applications (5th ed.). Upper Saddle River, N.J: Pearson.