Hgeocities.com/ameliemazer/influences.htmlgeocities.com/ameliemazer/influences.htmldelayedx3J#;OKtext/htmlpQ b@;b.HWed, 11 Dec 2002 19:26:36 GMT Mozilla/4.5 (compatible; HTTrack 3.0x; Windows 98)en, *3J; influences

Theoretical and Research influences

for pedagogical practices

Lev Vygotsky

A Russian psychologist and philosopher in the 1930's, he is most often associated with the social constructivist theory. He emphasizes the influences of cultural and social contexts in learning and supports a discovery model of learning. This type of model places the teacher in an active role while the students' mental abilities develop naturally through various paths of discovery.

Vygotsky's Three Principal Assumptions

  1. Making Meaning
    bullet The community places a central role.
    bullet The people around the student greatly affect the way he or she sees the world.
  2. Tools for Cognitive Development
    bullet The type and quality of these tools determine the pattern and rate of development.
    bullet The tools may include: important adults to the student, culture, language.
  3. The Zone of Proximal Development
    bullet According to Vygotsky's theory, problem solving skills of tasks can be placed into three categories. These are as follows: (a) those performed independently by the student; (b) those that cannot be performed even with help; and (c) those that fall between the two extremes, the tasks that can be performed with help from others.

Vygotskian Principles in the Classroom

bullet Learning and development is a social and collaborative activity that cannot be "taught" to anyone. It is up to the student to construct his or her own understanding in his or her own mind. It is during this process that the teacher acts as a facilitator.
bullet The zone of proximal development can be used to design appropriate situations during which the student can be provided the appropriate support for optimal learning.
bullet When providing appropriate situations, one must take into consideration that learning should take place in meaningful contexts, preferably the context in which the knowledge is to be applied.
bullet Out of school experiences should be related to school experiences. Pictures, news clips, and personal stories incorporated into classroom activities provides the students with a since of oneness between their community and learning.



He is a Swiss psychologist who began to study human development in the 1920s. His proposed a development theory has been widely discussed in both psychology and education fields. To learn, Piaget stressed the holistic approach. A child constructs understanding through many channels: reading, listening, exploring and experiencing his or her environment.

Piaget's Stages of Cognitive Development



Major Developments

Birth to 2


Infants use sensory and motor capabilities
to explore and gain understanding of
their environments.

2 to 7


Children begin to use symbols.
They respond to objects and events
according to how they appear to be.

7 to 11


Children begin to think logically.

11 years and


They begin to think about thinking.
Thought is systematic and abstract.

A child will develop through each of these stages until he or she can reason logically. The learner is advanced through three mechanisms.

  1. Assimilation - fitting a new experience into an existing mental structure (schema)
  2. Accommodation - revising an existing schema because of a new experience
  3. Equilibrium - seeking cognitive stability through assimilation and accommodation

Piagetian Principals in the Classroom

bullet Possibly the most important role for the teacher is to provide an environment in which the child can experience spontaneous research. The classroom should be filled with authentic opportunities to challenge the students. The students should be given the freedom to understand and construct meaning at their own pace through personal experiences as they develop through individual developmental processes.
bullet Learning is an active process in which errors will be made and solutions will be found. These are important to assimilation and accommodation to achieve equilibrium.
bullet Learning is a social process that should take place among collaborative groups with peer interaction in as natural as possible settings.


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