Vygotsky's Zone of Proximal Development and Brain Development - Essay Example

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University of California, Santa Barbara
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Vygotsky, in his development theory, pointed out that learning, especially at an early age, leads to brain development. In addition, Vygotsky highlighted that development cannot be separated from its social context, and that language plays a critical role in mental development (Davidson & Davidson, 1994). As such, through his work, especially the developmental theory, he assisted children to use strategies in advancing their intellectual capacity. However, the most recognized part of his development theory is his postulation of the zone of proximal development (ZPD), which he articulated that it is the area between independent performance and assisted performance (Davidson & Davidson, 1994). In this area, he argued that teachers need to focus attention on, as it helps students learn and cognitively develop. In essence, early childhood instructors should be able to guide the students through, focusing on guiding them, and in turn, they can use the little they learn in other areas, which is helps them acquire new skills critical to the development of the brain.

Teachers can help learners brain to increasingly develop by guiding them in various settings, including helping them acquire knowledge in mathematics, rhymes, music, dancing, and even drawings. In essence, at this early age, the children can subsequently learn other things without the help of the teacher. For instance, when teachers structure various learning activities differently, the same child is capable of performing at a higher level, such as counting meaningfully without missing details (Galotti, 2016). As such, this allows them to be creative in class, as well as in other places of interaction, and this enables them to accumulate various competencies. According to Galotti (2016), skills acquired through the early childhood instruction setting include facial recognition, spatial awareness, interpreting the context of language, being able to differentiate visual images, being aware of my surroundings, intuition, as well as reading the feelings of other children. For this reason, teachers should help the early learners bridge the ZPD by adopting processes necessary to regulate their internal and external behavior, encouraging them to draw with their experiencing, to talk to each other about it, and even to themselves, thereby allowing them to become independent learners. As such, in early learning, mathematics and creative arts among other disciplines can fasten the development of the childs brain. As such, guiding the children learn some tasks or skills will enable the student to learn other skills without the help of the teacher.

As such, Vygotskys strategies for learning and development can be applied in the classroom setting to help an atypical child learning English as a second language through scaffolding. In essence, scaffolding refers to the process of enabling a child to carry out a task or solve a problem that is beyond his or her unassisted efforts (Galotti, 2016). In the case of learning English as a send language, it refers to providing contextual supports for meaning through the utilization of simplified language, graphics, and visuals, modeling, as well as cooperative learning. The teacher will then use a simple language and for completion of phrases, such speaking in present tense and shortening language selection or even telling a story. The instructor can also use visuals to help the children present and respond to information by using tables, graphs, graphic organizers, outlines, and charts. In essence, through these, the infant will be able to acquire vocabulary necessary for advancements of the English skills. As such, it can be concluded that capitalizing on the ZPD for early learning instructors will subsequently result in increased brain development.



Davidson, J. (Director), & Davidson, F. (Producer). (1994). Vygotsky's Developmental Theory: An Introduction. Davidson Films.

Galotti, K.K. (2016). Cognitive Development: Infancy Through Adolescence (2nd Ed). Thousand Oaks, C.A.: SAGE Publications


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