Semyonovich Vygotski Sociocultural Theory

Ariana M. Velazquez 842-02-8597

 He was born in 1896 in Orsha, Belarus ( Russian Empire)  Grew up in Homel in a prosperous Jewish family.  He attended Moscow University, majoring in law.  He graduated in 1918 and returned to Homel where he worked as a school teacher and studied.

 In 1924 he moved to Moscow, working on a diverse set of projects.  In 1934 he died of tuberculosis.  He left a wealth of work that is still being explored.  His writings emphasized the roles of historical, cultural, and social factors in cognition and argued that language was the most important symbolic tool provided by society.  His thought and language is a classic

Sociocultural Theory

 Culture is the prime determinant of individual development.  Every function in the child’s cultural development appears twice.  Development depends on interaction with people and the tools that the culture provides

 Cognitive skills and patterns of thinking are not primarily determined by innate factors, but are the products of the activities practiced in the social institutions of the culture in which the individual grows up.  In this process of cognitive development, language is crucial tool for determining how the child will learn how to think because advanced modes of though are

 Cognitive development results from a dialectical process where by a child learns through problem – solving experiences shared with someone else.  As learning progresses, the child’s own language comes to serve as her primary tool of intellectual adaptation. Eventually, children can use internal language to direct their

Three underlying themes that unify Vygotsky’s complex and far-reaching theory
 The importance of culture  The central role of language  The Zone of Proximal Development

The importance of culture

Our culture grow and change as we develop, and employ extremely powerful influences on all of us. They dictate what he calls “Elementary mental functions” and “higher mental

Three ways that culture tool can pass from one individual to another
 Imitative learning  Instructed learning  Collaborative learning

The central role of language

Language is made possible because of our culture. The learning of language is brought about by social processes, and language ultimately make thought possible. Therefore, when a child is an infant, at the preverbal stage development, his intelligence is a purely natural, useful

As a child begins to develop so does his language. As a child begins to speak, his thought processes also begins to develop. In essence, it is language which direct behavior. Vygotsky describes three stages in the development of speech. Each of these three stages of speech has its own function.

 Social Speech (external speech)  Egocentric Speech  Inner Speech

The Zone of Proximal Development

 It is the distance between the actual developmental level as determined by independent problem solving and the level of potential as determined through problem solving under adult guidance or in collaboration with more capable peers.  It represents the amount of learning possible by a student

 Refers to what children can do in their own as the level of actual development that a standard IQ test measure.  Vygotsky says that two children might have the same level of actual development, in the sense of being able to solve the same number of problems on some standardized test.

 Give an appropriate help from an adult, still, one child might be able to solve an additional dozen problems while the other child might be able to solve only two or three.


Thanks For Your Attention.