Scaffolding and Zone of Proximal Development (Post 5)

    As we have seen in our last few lectures, “scaffolding” and “zone of proximal development” are very important to the growth and overall progress of a child’s cognitive development. These two theories apply to more than just the development for children. It is presently related in adolescent and adult life.

    Vygotsky’s theory of “scaffolding” is defined as,  a person ” adjusting the support offered during a teaching session to fit a child’s current level of performance” (Child Development, p.266). “Scaffolding” is not only seen in a child’s development, but also throughout a person’s life. In many situations people may need an adjusted level of help from others to achieve tasks. When someone is first hired by a new employer it is reasonable to believe that the new employee will be given some sort of instruction on how to do what they are required to do. For the first few weeks or months of that job the new person may get help or advice from others so they can do their job more efficiantly. “Scaffolding” can be seen in the work field as well as the social environment.

    The other theory suggested by Vygotsky in child cognitive development is  that every child has a ” zone of proximal development.” The ” zone of proximal development” is ” a range of tasks too difficult for the child to do alone but possible with help of adults and more skilled peers” (Child Development, p. 265). This theory is also widely seen in adolescent and adult life. No matter how accomplished someone may feel and may be, there will always be one or two things which fall just outside of their “zone of proximal development.” Although these certain tasks may not be completed by one individual, with the help of someone “more skilled” this task may be easily attained. People demonstrated their limitations throughout  their lives. There is never a point in life where someone can do every task. Everyone has their “zone of proximal development” and benefits from assistance from others.

    Through Vygotsky’s theories of “scaffolding” and “zone of proximal development,” children as well as adults are able to expand their abilities and help continue their cognitive development at any age. Therefore, everyone will come into contact with the theory of “scaffolding” and “zone of proximal development” more than once in their life time.


Berk, Laura E., Child Development. p. 265-266 


By: Ashley Crawford

~ by crawfordashley on October 26, 2009.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: