Sociocultural learning in the classroom

Ashley Flesner
Sociocultural learning uses critical thinking,
problem solving, research and lifelong learning
to emphasize learning from experience and from
student environment or culture.
 It is a fundamentally different view of learning
as students’ learning is differentiated based on
learning goals, tools used and how the learner
interprets the material being learned.
 Sociocultural learning is typically set up in
phases that describes the systematic process as a
 Lev
Vygotsky ultimately derived the
sociocultural theory of learning through his
work and believed “that parents, caregivers,
peers and the culture at large were
responsible for the development of higher
order functions.”
 Vygotsky was among other great theorists
such as Frued, Skinner and Piaget but died at
the age of 38. As his work was published, his
theories grown in popularity within the
educational world.
 Wertsch
(1991) proposed three major
findings within Vygotsky’s Sociocultural
Theory of Learning:
Individual development is based on cultural and
social experiences.
Human actions are mediated through tools and
signs (computers, calculators, paint brushes, etc.
are required to facilitate learning.)
The first two themes, individual development
and human actions, are best examined through
genetic or developmental analysis (cultural
 Ultimately,
the Zone of Proximal
Development includes all of the skills that
the person is capable of learning and
possessing but has not yet learned.
 According to Vygotsky, the Zone of Proximal
Development “is the distance between the
actual development level as determined by
independent problem solving and the level of
potential development as determined
through problem solving under adult
guidance or in collaboration with more
capable peers.”
 The
teacher and student role ultimately
shifts in the sociocultural learning classroom.
Teachers and students confer often to
determine and facilitate the meaning of
learning in the classroom.
 Learning becomes an equal process where
students take responsibility for what they
learn and how they learn it.
 Sociocultural learning within the classroom
requires students and the educator to have a
positive and open relationship.
Collaborative Learning and Motivation Factors:
 Cooperation
as a Value
 Heterogeneous Grouping
 Positive Interdependence
 Individual Accountability
 Simultaneous Interaction
 Equal Participation
 Collaborative Skills
 Group Autonomy
(Jacobs, Power, & Loh, 2002)
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