The teacher must orient his work not on yesterday’s development in the child but on tomorrow’s. – Lev Vygotsky
At a lecture last week, I mentioned Vygotsky and several teachers were curious and asked me for more information. It got me thinking about my own relationship with this collossus and sharing some of his “necessary” words with others. Go HERE for an archive of resources about the man.
Vygotsky was a Soviet (Belorussian) psychologist who did most of his important work in the 1930s. He’s known for his lucid writing and such terms as ZPD – the Zone of Proximal Development (not to be confused with scaffolding which is a mental and individual construct), cultural mediation, self regulation and a More Knowing Other (MKO).
He was a true blue “constructivist”, viewing language as a social construct, being learned through “others” and being developmental. His thoughts on the role of “play” and learning are well worth looking into. He’s one of the father’s of modern social cognition. A man well ahead of the times.
Vygotsky’s seminal work is “Thought and Language”. I’ve kept it by my bedside for a number of years, particulary with Pinker’s recent work in the same vein – “The Stuff of Thought”. Now, you can read most of it online. GO HERE. I’ve attached my favorite chapter (#7 – Thought and Word) which goes into the concept of how we think in words, to ourselves or what Vygotsky labeled “egocentric speech” or “inner speech”. A key to understanding language and how it is acquired, a key to pulling back the curtains and glimpsing the puppeteer. Enjoy his lucid thought.