Zone of proximal development

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In the middle circle, representing the zone of proximal development, students cannot complete tasks unaided, but can complete them with guidance.

The zone of proximal development, often abbreviated as ZPD, is the difference between what a learner can do without help and what he or she can do with help.[1] It is a concept introduced, yet not fully developed, by Soviet psychologist Lev Vygotsky (1896–1934) during the last ten years of his life.[2]

Vygotsky stated that a child follows an adult's example and gradually develops the ability to do certain tasks without help.[3]

Vygotsky and some educators believe that education's role is to give children experiences that are within their zones of proximal development, thereby encouraging and advancing their individual learning.[4]

Origins[edit]

Lev Vygotsky 1896-1934

The concept of the zone of proximal development was originally developed by Vygotsky to argue against the use of academic, knowledge-based tests as a means to gauge students' intelligence. He also created ZPD to further develop Jean Piaget's theory of children being lone learners.[5] Vygotsky argued that, rather than examining what a student knows to determine intelligence, it is better to examine his or her ability to solve problems independently and his or her ability to solve problems with an adult's help.[6] He proposed a question: "if two children perform the same on a test, are their levels of development the same?" He found that they have not.[7] However, Lev Semyonovich Vygotsky's untimely death interrupted his work on the zone of proximal development and it remained mostly incomplete.[8]

Definition[edit]

Since Vygotsky's original conception, the definition for the zone of proximal development has been expanded and modified.

The zone of proximal development is an area of learning that occurs when a person is assisted by a teacher or peer with a higher skill set of the subject.[1] The person learning the skill set cannot complete it without the assistance of the teacher or peer. The teacher then helps the student attain the skill the student is trying to master in hopes that the teacher is no longer needed.[9]

Any function within the zone of proximal development matures within a particular internal context that includes not only the function’s actual level but also how susceptible the child is to types of help, the sequence in which these types of help are offered, the flexibility or rigidity of previously formed stereotypes, how willing the child is to collaborate, along with other factors.[10] This context can impact the diagnosis of a function’s potential level of development.[8]

Scaffolding[edit]

The concept of the ZPD is widely used to study children's mental development as it relates to education. The ZPD concept is seen as a scaffolding, a structure of "support points" for performing an action.[11] This refers to the help or guidance received from an adult or more competent peer to permit the child to work within the ZPD.[12] Although Vygotsky himself never mentioned the term, scaffolding was first developed by Jerome Bruner, David Wood, and Gail Ross while applying Vygotsky's concept of ZPD to various educational contexts.[13]

Scaffolding is a process through which a teacher or a more competent peer helps the student in his or her ZPD as necessary and tapers off this aid as it becomes unnecessary, much as a scaffold is removed from a building after construction is completed. "Scaffolding [is] the way the adult guides the child's learning via focused questions and positive interactions."[14] This concept has been further developed by Ann Brown, among others. Several instructional programs were developed based on this interpretation of the ZPD, including reciprocal teaching and dynamic assessment. In order for scaffolding to work and have an effect, one must start at the child's level of knowledge and build from there.[12]

One example of children using ZPD is when they are learning to speak. As their speech develops, it influences the way the child thinks, which in turn also influences the child's manner of speaking.[15] Wells gives the example of dancing: when a person is learning how to dance, they look to others around them on the dance floor and imitate their moves. A person does not copy the dance moves exactly, but takes what they can and adds their own personality to it.[16]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Zone of proximal development. (2009). In The Penguin dictionary of psychology. Retrieved from Credo Reference database
  2. ^ Stanlaw, J. (2005). Vygotsky, lev semenovich (1896--1934). In Encyclopedia of anthropology. Retrieved from Credo Reference Database
  3. ^ L.S. Vygotsky: Mind in Society: Development of Higher Psychological Processes, p. 86
  4. ^ Berk, L & Winsler, A. (1995). "Vygotsky: His life and works" and "Vygotsky's approach to development". In Scaffolding children's learning: Vygotsky and early childhood learning. Natl. Assoc for Educ. Of Young Children. p. 24
  5. ^ ZONE OF PROXIMAL DEVELOPMENT and: CULTURAL TOOLS SCAFFOLDING GUIDED PARTICIPATION. (2006). In Key concepts in developmental psychology. Retrieved from Credo Reference Database
  6. ^ Berk, L & Winsler, A. (1995). "Vygotsky: His life and works" and "Vygotsky's approach to development". In Scaffolding children's learning: Vygotsky and early childhood learning. Natl. Assoc for Educ. Of Young Children. pp. 25–34
  7. ^ Stages of development. (2010). In Curriculum connections psychology: Cognitive development. Retrieved from Credo Reference Database
  8. ^ a b Zaretskii, V. K. (November–December 2009). "The Zone of Proximal Development What Vygotsky Did Not Have Time to Write". Journal of Russian and East European Psychology 47 (1061–0405/2010 $9.50 + 0.00.): 70–93. doi:10.2753/RPO1061-0405470604. Retrieved 21 November 2011. 
  9. ^ Burkitt, E. (2006). Zone of proximal development. In Encyclopaedic dictionary of psychology. Retrieved from Credo Reference database
  10. ^ Bozhovich, E. D. (2009). Zone of Proximal Development: The Diagnostic Capabilities and Limitations of Indirect Collaboration. Journal Of Russian & East European Psychology, 47(6), 48-69. Retrieved from EBSCOHost Database
  11. ^ Obukhova, L. F., & Korepanova, I. A. (2009). The Zone of Proximal Development: A Spatiotemporal Model. Journal of Russian & East European Psychology, 47(6), 25-47. doi:10.2753/RPO1061-0405470602
  12. ^ a b Morgan, A. (2009, July 28). What is "Scaffolding" and the "ZPD"? Retrieved October 13, 2014.
  13. ^ ZONE OF PROXIMAL DEVELOPMENT and: CULTURAL TOOLS SCAFFOLDING GUIDED PARTICIPATION. (2006). In Key concepts in developmental psychology. Retrieved from Credo Reference Database
  14. ^ Balaban, Nancy. (1995). "Seeing the Child, Knowing the Person." In Ayers, W. To Become a Teacher. Teachers College Press. p. 52
  15. ^ Stages of development. (2010). In Curriculum connections psychology: Cognitive development. Retrieved from Credo Reference Database
  16. ^ Wells, G. (1999). Dialogic Inquiries in education: Building on the legacy of Vygotsky. Cambridge University Press. p. 57
  • Chaiklin, S. (2003). "The Zone of Proximal Development in Vygotsky's analysis of learning and instruction." In Kozulin, A., Gindis, B., Ageyev, V. & Miller, S. (Eds.) Vygotsky's educational theory and practice in cultural context. 39-64. Cambridge: Cambridge University.
  • Mayer, R. E. (2008). Learning and instruction. (2nd ed., pp. 462–463). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Education.