Vygotsky: a champion of didactic teaching

Evidence into Practice

The constructivist claim that knowledge is socially constructed and driven by peer-interaction is frequently defended by references to the theories of Lev Vygotsky. Most major initiatives during my time as a teacher have been (apparently) been based on the writings of this Russian psychologist who died in 1934. He is one of the main foundations of constructivist theories of learning … or so I thought.

I came across this Russian article: Vygotsky under debate: two points of view on school learning which argues that much of interpretation of Vygotsky’s work was appropriated by theorists in the West keen to marry his theory to Piaget’s. The authors claim that the view of Vygotsky, as a social interactionist, is based principally upon a single chapter in one of his books ‘Mind in society’, where he discusses the ‘Zone of Proximal Development’ and that a broader review of his work points towards an…

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