Lev Vygotsky

By Elise and Liv


Lev was born into the Russian empire in 1896. He was educated at home by his mother and a tutor through primary school, and then proceeded into public schools for his secondary education. He was a very well rounded student who especially excelled in reading and memory. Entering his adult life he attended the University of Moscow beginning with a focus on medicine later changed to law. After graduation he started special education services in Russia. Vygotsky's priority has always been the psychology of education which leads into his work later in life. He had a short life after he contracted TB and passed away at the age of 38.

Human Development

Vygotsky believes that children learn by internalizing the results of interactions with adults. From this idea he created the theory of Zone of Proximal Development. This refers to the gap or difference between a child's existing abilities and what he or she can learn under the guidance of an adult or a more advanced peer. The zone of proximal development uses two degrees to gauge a child's ability and potential. The first degree is actual development this is when he or she can work independently on a task or problem. This sets a foundation for the child's knowledge, which is what generally is assessed in schools. The other degree is potential development. This is the level of proficiency a child can reach when he or she is guided or supported by another person. This idea of an important adult guiding a child through the zone of proximal development is known as scaffolding. An example of this would be a child may be struggling to read, by working with the student to teach how to sound out words and use other word recognition strategies the child is able to learn to read.

Historical Cultural Development

Also known as the sociocultural approach he believes a child's development is a direct result of his or her culture. Vygotsky described human cognitive development as a "collaborative process", which mean that the learning process of people takes place through social interactions. For example, memory in young children is limited by biological factors. However, culture determines the type of memory strategy we develop.

Development of Thought and Language

This theory explored the connection between speech and the development of mental concepts and cognitive awareness. He believed that through inner speech and oral language that determined how the child's intellectual being is formed. An example of this would be things that happen quite often in everyone's life such as " I talked myself into it" and thinking out loud.

Works cited

"Lev Vygotsky." - New World Encyclopedia. Media Wiki, n.d. Web. 11 Mar. 2015.

McLeod, Saul. "Vygotsky | Simply Psychology." Vygotsky | Simply Psychology. N.p., 2007. Web. 03 Mar. 2015.