Learning Theorist Group - Jean Bordner Portfolio

Learning Theory: Vygotsky
Kerri Hayes, Lucas Scharmer, Jean Wheeler, Ashley Williams
Lev Vygotsky
“Lev Vygotsky is considered a seminal
thinker in psychology, and much of his work
is still being discovered and explored
He was a Russian psychologist who was born November 17, 1896
He attended Moscow State University and he graduated with a degree in law in 1917.
He studied a variety of subjects which included sociology, linguistics, psychology and
In 1924 he attended the Institute of Psychology in Moscow where he formally began his
work in psychology.
He did collaborative work with Alexei Leontiev and Alexander Luria.
He was an inspired writer, publishing six books on psychology topics within the course of a
ten year period. His books focused on topics such as child development and education.
He also researched other topics like the psychology of art and language development.
Some of his most renowned theories included:
 Zone of Proximal Development
 Sociocultural Theory
He died tragically at a young age due to tuberculosis on June 11, 1934. He was only 38
years old.
(Cherry) http://psychology.about.com/od/profilesmz/p/vygotsky.htm
Psychology of Play
“A child’s greatest achievements are possible in play,
achievements that tomorrow will become her basic level of
real action.” – Vygotsky
(Leong & Badrova, 2012)
Social Learning
Cultural Mediation
“knowing how” based on
observations and participation in a
culture/society (ex. Riding a bike,
using a pencil)
+ Interactions
Language (whether private speech or
oral language) demonstrates a
relationship to thought (cognitive
awareness). Language is a tool for
further development. Social
interactions with others supports
language and development.
Social Learning cont’d
Zone of Proximal Development
 Developed by Vygotsky as a guide to
show what learners can do without
help and what they can do with
help. Children follow the examples
of adults and capable peers. They
gradually attain the ability to do
certain tasks through learning and
observing adults and capable peers.
Vygotsky’s definition of ZPD is, “the
distance between the actual
developmental 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
(Culatta, 2011)
 Vygotsky defined scaffolding instruction as the “role of teachers and others
in supporting the learner’s development and providing support structures to
get to that next stage or level” (Raymond, 2000, p. 176).
 Scaffolding is the support and process by which a teacher mediates a child’s
attempt to take on new learning concepts.
 The support given during the learning process is tailored to meet the needs
of the student where they are. The intention of this process is to gradually
help the student achieve an independent level.
 When scaffolding, teachers start by introducing concepts that are a little
above where the student may be. As a student internalizes the concepts,
the teacher modifies the instruction and eventually, removes the concepts
according to the needs of the learner.
 A child develops his or her intellect through internalizing concepts based his
or her own interpretation of an activity that occurs in a social setting. The
communication that occurs in this setting with more knowledgeable or
capable others (parents, teachers, peers, others) helps the child construct an
understanding of the concept (Bransford, Brown, & Cocking, 2000).
Classroom Connections
Jean: Collaborative Group Still Life: Each table works
together to create a still life and then each student
draws the still life they collaborated on.
Classroom Connections
Lucas: I use ZPD as I teach, show, and then do style of
instruction. Students are instructed about how a
certain skill is done, then they are shown how it is
done, then they practice it themselves.
Classroom Connections
Kerri: My students work cooperatively during most subjects each day –
playing math games, buddy reading, peer conferencing during
writer’s workshop, etc. Also, I scaffold students understanding based
on their individual needs during reading groups or guided math.
Students have opportunities to play and interact during recess and
brain breaks, during which they allow their imaginations to open up
their world to new possibilities.
Classroom Connections
Ashley: Think Aloud, Activate Prior Knowledge, Give Time to
Talk, Pre-Teach Vocabulary, Use Visual Aids/Graphic
Organizers, Question Answering and Cooperative Learning
Bransford, B., Brown, L., & Cocking, E. (2000). Scaffolding.
Cherry, K. Lev vygotsky biography. Retrieved from
Culatta, R. (2011). Zone of proximal development. Retrieved from
Instructional scaffolding. Retrieved
Leong, D. J. & Bodrova, E. (2012). Pioneers in our field: Lev vygotsky – playing to
learn. Retrieved from http://teacher.scholastic.com/products/ect/vygotsky.htm
Lev vygotsky. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lev_Vygotsky
Raymond, E (2000). Scaffolding as a Teaching Strategy - CONDOR at CCNY Retrieved
from http://en.condor.admin.ccny.cuny.edu/.../Van%20Der%20Stuyf%20Paper.doc

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