Vygotsky and Me

Lev Vygotsky theorized that learning occurs through scaffolding and our own zone of proximal development. Scaffolding can be described as a parent or teacher adjusting their expectations and level of help to fit a child’s current ability. And our zone of proximal development is just beyond our current level of ability. A child who has begun to learn to read must be challenged somewhat in order to progress but must have help in order to learn and succeed at this challenge. If the child is not challenged then he/she will never have the chance to progress, instead they will stay at their current ability level.

I attended an elementary school program that was for the gifted and talented and proceeded through jr high and high school in honors and AP courses. I say this only because I firmly believe that had I not been placed in these classes that challenged me I would never have progressed in the ways these courses allowed me to. I would have been bored in regular courses and as a result, not done my work. This became an actual problem for me in some high school classes that were not a challenge, because they weren’t meant to be not because I’m a genius or anything like that. I know how important it is for me to be challenged by my classes now and I consider that knowledge every time I sign up for classes for a new semester.

I also know that the help of my parents, teachers, and peers was an extremely important tool that has helped me over the years and continues to help me today. Help was always available to me but I was always required to do my own work. Still today I ask classmates and friends to review papers before they are submitted or check answers and work things out together if necessary. I think these were invaluable lessons that I was able to learn when I was young and I’m so glad that I can use them even now.

-Melinda Perkins

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~ by fairydust4ever on November 1, 2009.

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