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The main idea of constructivism is to comprehend how people know what they actually know, and the role of Lev Vygotsky remains to be crucial indeed. Vygotsky’s relevance to constructivism is predetermined by his numerous theories about the peculiarities of language and thoughts and their interventions in society as well as his work with children and their reactions to the learning environment.
Vygotsky was born and raised in a well-educated family. He got access to various possibilities and choices on how to organize his life and develop his knowledge. First, he tried himself in writing, medicine, philosophy, and law; still, he understood that it was not his real calling. He chose psychology as the main subject of his investigation and proved the idea that the process of learning and cognitive development underwent a certain impact on specific social interactions. His experience helped him to understand the truth that any kind of human inquiry was connected to culture, and culture was connected to social history, this is why it was necessary to combine human knowledge and people’s interactions (Pass, 2007).
Researcher’s Theoretical Perspective
Vygotsky’s main theoretical perspectives are about the four main factors like social interactions, language, private speech, and the Zone of Proximal Development and their roles in the development of a child’s cognition (Wang, 2009).
Experiments and Findings
His behavioral theory was based on empirical research: the observation of individuals in isolation and consideration of cultural and historical contexts proved that learning could happen before the developmental process took place. Another empirical research that helped to comprehend constructivism is the Zone of Proximal Development by means of which Vygotsky combined students’ abilities to complete tasks under and without teachers’ guidance (Stetsenko & Arievitch, 2004).
The majority of Vygotsky’s works were based on the achievements of Pavlov and Marx and the outcomes of the Russian Revolution. Vygotsky truly believed that the social world and its rules played an important role in cognitive development. The language was considered as one of the main tools by means of which children could promote communication and shape their thoughts.
At the same time, it was necessary to take into consideration some historical and cultural backgrounds to make cognition clear and definite. Another important trend that led to Vygotsky’s line of research was the possibility to change personal conceptions as a result of a communication process (Pass, 2007).
One of the most powerful ideas offered by Vygotsky is his view as a cognitivist. He believed that any learning process, as well as the attempts to comprehend how people thought and gained knowledge, depended on social interactions, and passed from generation to generation. This is why until children are not able to speak, they cannot gain any kind of knowledge. They have to share information by means of words and understand the language to promote cognitive development within their systems.
Teachers should realize how crucial their participation in cognitive development is. They take responsibility for how children perceive the world and how they can exchange information. Vygotsky could not ignore the fact that cognitive development was impossible without teachers and their abilities to introduce new knowledge to children regarding all-important cultural and social norms.
Vygotsky’s position on cognitive development and constructivism are considerable achievements in the sphere of psychology. It is necessary to consider his position to comprehend how the role of teachers and the importance of language understanding may predetermine the quality of a child’s development. Vygotsky was one of the first researchers, who underlined the importance of culture in human development and proved that its cognition was possible through social interactions.
Pass, S. (2007). When constructivists Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky were pedagogical collaborators: A viewpoint from a study of their communications. Journal of Constructivist Psychology, 20, 277-282.
Stetsenko, A. & Arievitch, I.M. (2004). Vygotskian collaborative project of social transformation: History, politics, and practice in knowledge construction. International Journal of Critical Psychology, 12, 58-80.
Wang, Y.B. (2009). Impact of Lev Vygotsky on special education. Canadian Social Science, 5(5), 100-103.