Vygotsky’s Educational Theory in Cultural Context - bet 14
Arievitch, I. M., & Stetsenko, A. (2000). The quality of cultural tools and cognitive
development: Gal’perin’s perspective and its implications. Human Development, 43, 69–92.
Bjorklund, D. F. (1997). In search of a metatheory for cognitive development
(or, Piaget is dead and I don’t feel so good myself). Child Development, 68(1),
Bodrova, E., & Leong, D. J. (1996). Tools of the mind: The Vygotskian approach to early childhood education. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall.
Bowlby, J. (1969). Attachment and loss : Vol. 1. Attachment. New York: Basic Books.
Bozhovich, L. I. (1968). Lichnost i ee formirovanie v detskom vozraste [Personality and
its development in childhood]. Moscow: Prosveschenie.
Bruer, J. T. (1993). Schools for thought: A science of learning in the classroom. Cambridge,
Buss, A. H., & Plomin, R. (1975). A temperament theory of personality development.
New York: Wiley.
Cole, M., & Cole, S. (1993). The development of children. New York: Scientiﬁc American
Davydov, V. V. (1986). Problemy razvivayuschego obucheniya [Problems of
development-generating learning]. Moscow: Pedagogika.
Davydov, V. V. (1990). Types of generalization in instruction. Reston, VA: National
Council of Teachers of Mathematics.
Davydov, V. V. (1998). The concept of developmental teaching. Journal of Russian and East European Psychology, 36(4), 11–36.
Davydov, V. V. (1999). What is real learning activity? In M. Hedegaard &
J. Lompscher (Eds.), Learning activity and development (pp. 123–138). Aarhus,
Denmark: Aarhus University Press.
Dubrovina, I. V. (1987). Formirovanie lichnosti v perekhodnyi period ot podrostcovogo k iunoshkeskomu vozrastu [Development of personality during the transitional
period from adolescence to adulthood]. Moscow: Pedagogika.
Elkonin, D. B. (1972). Toward the problem of stages in the mental development of
the child. Soviet Psychology, 10 , 225–251.
Elkonin, D. B. (1978). Psikhologiya igry [Psychology of play]. Moscow: Pedagogika.
Elkonin, D. B. (1989). Izbrannye psikhologicheskie trudy [Selected psychological
works]. Moscow: Pedagogika.
Elkonin, D. B., & Dragunova, T. V. (Eds.) (1967). Vozrastnye i individualnye osobennostimladshikh podrostkov [Age-dependent and individual characteristics of young
adolescents]. Moscow: Prosveschenie.
Galperin, P. Y. (1989). Organization of mental activity and the effectiveness of learn-
ing. Soviet Psychology, 27(3), 65–82.
Kistyakovskaya, M. U. (1970). Razvitie dvizheniay u detei pervogo goda zhizni [The
development of motor skills in infants]. Moscow: Pedagogika.
Lekhtman-Abramovich, R. Ya., & Fradkina, F. I. (1949). Etapy razvitiya igry i deistviy s predmetami v rannem vozraste [Stages of development of play and manipulation
of objects in early childhood]. Moscow: Medgiz.
Leontiev, A. N. (1964). Problems of mental development. Washington, DC: US Joint
Publication Research Service.
154 Yuriy V. Karpov
Leontiev, A. N. (1978). Activity, consciousness, and personality. Englewood Cliffs,
Leontiev, A. N. (1981). The problem of activity in psychology. In J. V. Wertsch (Ed.),The concept of activity in Soviet psychology (pp. 37–71). Armonk, NY: Sharpe.
Leontiev, A. N., & Luria, A. R. (1968). The psychological ideas of L. S. Vygotskii.
In B. B. Wolman (Ed.), Historical roots of contemporary psychology (pp. 338–367).
New York: Harper & Row.
Lisina, M. I. (Ed.) (1985). Obschenie i rech: Razvitie rechi u detei v obschenii so vzroslymi
[Communication and speech: The development of children’s speech in the course
of communication with adults]. Moscow: Pedagogika.
Lisina, M. I. (1986). Problemy ontogeneza obscheniya [Problems of the ontogenesis of
communication]. Moscow: Pedagogika.
Luria, A. R. (1961). The role of speech in the regulation of normal and abnormal behavior.
Oxford: Pergamon Press.
Luria, A. R. (1976). Cognitive development: Its cultural and social foundations.
Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Piaget, J. (1971). The theory of stages in cognitive development. In D. R. Green,
M. P. Ford, & G. B. Flamer (Eds.), Measurement and Piaget (pp. 1–11). New York:
Plomin, R., & DeFries, J. C. (1980). Genetics and intelligence: Recent data. Intelli- gence, 4, 15–24.
Rogoff, B., & Chavajay, P. (1995). What’s become of research on the cultural basis
of cognitive development? American Psychologist, 50(10), 859–877.
Rozengard-Pupko, G. L. (1948). Rech i razvitie vospriyatiya v rannem vozraste
[Language and the development of perception in early age]. Moscow: AMN
Scarr, S. (1992). Developmental theories for the 1990s: Development and individual
differences. Child Development, 63, 1–19.
Segall, M. H., Dasen, P. R., Berry, J. W., & Poortinga, Y. (1990). Human behavior in global perspective. New York: Pergamon.
Slavina, L. S. (1948). O razvitii motivov igrovoi deayatelnosti v doshkolnom
vozraste [On the development of play motives at preschool age]. Izvestiya APN RSFSR, 14, 11–29.
Talyzina, N. F. (1981). The psychology of learning. Moscow: Progress.
Tomasello, M. (1999). The cultural origins of human cognition. Cambridge, MA:
Harvard University Press.
Usova, A. P. (1976). Rol igry v vospitanii detei [The role of play in children’s upbring-
ing]. Moscow: Pedagogika.
Vygotsky, L. S. (1976). Play and its role in the mental development of the child. In
J. S. Bruner, A. Jolly, & K. Sylva (Eds.), Play: Its role in development and evolution
(pp. 537–554). New York: Basic Books.
Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). M. Cole, V. John-Steiner, S. Scribner & E. Souberman (Eds.),Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge, MA:
Harvard University Press.
Vygotsky, L. S. (1986). Thought and language. Cambridge, MA: MITPress.
Vygotsky, L. S. (1987). R. W. Rieber (Ed.), The collected works of L. S. Vygotsky: Vol. 1:Problems of general psychology. New York: Plenum.
Development Through the Lifespan
Vygotsky, L. S. (1997). R. W. Rieber (Ed.), The collected works of L. S. Vygotsky: Vol. 4: The history of the development of higher mental functions. New York: Plenum.
Vygotsky, L. S. (1998). R. W. Rieber (Ed.), The collected works of L. S. Vygotsky, Vol. 5:Child psychology. New York: Plenum.
Wertsch, J. V., & Tulviste, P. (1992). L. S. Vygotsky and contemporary developmental
psychology. Developmental Psychology, 28(4), 548–557.
Zaporozhets, A. V. (1997). Principal problems in the ontogeny of the mind. Journalof Russian and East European Psychology, 35(1), 53–94.
Zaporozhets, A. V., & Elkonin, D. B. (Eds.) (1971). The psychology of preschool children.
Cambridge, MA: MITPress.
Zaporozhets, A. V., & Lisina, M. I. (Eds.). (1974). Razvitie obscheniya u doshkolnikov
[The development of communication in preschoolers]. Moscow: Pedagogika.
Learning and Development of Preschool Children
from the Vygotskian Perspective
Elena Bodrova and Deborah J. Leong
Although Vygotsky’s interest in the issues of learning and development
was not limited to any speciﬁc age, it seems that many of his best known
ideas are often discussed in the context of the development of younger chil-
dren. It makes our job as authors who venture to present the Vygotskian
perspective on this subject both easy and challenging. The easy part is to
review these well-known ideas, including the relationship between
teaching/learning and development, the role of make-believe play, and
the evolution of oral speech from public to private. The challenging part
is to look beyond these familiar themes and to present an integral picture
of preschool age from Vygotsky’s perspective and in the broader context
of the cultural–historical perspective. Considering that Vygotsky’s own
writing on this subject is sometimes fragmented and presents more of a
series of brilliant insights than a complete theory, we believe that adding
the work of post-Vygotskians will enrich the readers’ theoretical under-
standing and at the same time provide a necessary connection to possible
definition of preschool age
When describing Vygotsky’s approach to the issues of learning and de-
velopment of preschool children, one should be aware of the meaning
of the term preschool age in Vygotsky’s times. Meaning literally “prior to
entering school,” this term was used to describe a child up to the time
he or she reached the age of 7 or even 8 years. In this sense, the upper
boundaries of the “preschool age” can be roughly equivalent to the end of
“early childhood” – the term used in the Western literature to cover the
entire period from birth to age 8. As for the lower boundaries, in Russia,
children begin to be referred to commonly as “preschoolers” when they
reach the age of 3 years. This “everyday” deﬁnition of what preschool means
is consistent with Vygotsky’s own references to the youngest children as
“infants,” to toddlers as “children of early age,” and ﬁnally to children who
are yet older as “preschoolers.” Therefore, for the purposes of this chapter
we will primarily focus on how Vygotsky’s theory describes learning and
development for this entire age group. Looking at subsequent elaboration
of Vygotsky’s ideas of early development and learning in the works of his
students and colleagues, we can see that the meaning of the term preschool
had changed. As a result of changes in social practices such as the begin-
ning of formal schooling at an earlier age, the term preschoolers is used by
post-Vygotskians to describe only those children between the ages 3 and 6.
Preschool age for Vygotsky is more than just a chronological concept.
As are other ages (e.g., infancy and early age), it is deﬁned in terms of the
systemic changes that take place in the structure of child’s mental processes
and in terms of its major developmental accomplishments (or “neoforma-
tions” if translated literally) that emerge as a result of a child’s growing
up in a unique “social situation of development” (Vygotsky, 1984). Other
references to preschool age as a distinct period in child development can
be found in Vygotsky’s works on the critical periods in child development
(ibid.). In his theory of critical periods, Vygotsky places preschool between
the crisis of 3 years of age on one end and the crisis of 7 years of age
on the other (see Mahn, this volume, for in-depth description of Vygotsky’s
theory of critical periods).
Describing child development during preschool years, Vygotsky follows
several major themes. The ﬁrst is the formation of child’s mind as a dynamic
system of mental functions with new higher mental functions emerging
and changing already existing lower mental functions. The preschool age
is the period when this formation goes through its initial stages, when
children’s use of language continues to transform their perception and
begins to transform their attention, memory, imagination, and thinking.
The second theme is the view of child development as the child’s grow-
ing mastery of his or her behavior. In this respect, preschool years cul-
minate in the child’s overcoming the dependence on the environmental
stimuli and becoming capable of intentional behavior through the use of
self-regulatory private speech and participation in make-believe play. The
third theme is the idea that child development is a holistic process with
emotions and cognition acting in unity and affecting each other. This third
theme is not elaborated in Vygotsky’s writing at the same level of detail as
the ﬁrst two and sometimes makes critics place Vygotsky’s theory in the
category of “cognitive.” However, in describing development of preschool
children, Vygotsky indicated that his views of mental development go
beyond “thought and language” to include such issues as integration of
emotions and cognition at the end of the preschool years and a complex
interplay of emotional and cognitive components in make-believe play.
Finally, the last theme is the theme that is central to Vygotsky’s view on
child development – the idea that the social situation of development is the
158 Elena Bodrova and Deborah J. Leong
“basic source” of development. This idea determines Vygotsky’s approach
to the transition from preschool to school age, including the issue of school
readiness, since the social situation of development
represents the initial moment for all dynamic changes that occur in development
during the given period. It determines wholly and completely the forms and the
path along which the child will acquire ever newer personality characteristics,
drawing them from the social reality as from the basic source of development, the
path along which the social becomes the individual. (Vygotsky, 1998, p. 198)
psychological characteristics of preschool age
Acquisition of Cultural Tools and Emergence of Higher
During preschool years, important changes take place in the very structure
of mental processes. Whereas most behaviors are still governed by “nat-
ural” or “lower” mental functions, the ﬁrst signs of future higher mental
functions emerge – ﬁrst in play and later in other contexts. These ﬁrst signs
are displayed in behavior that is deliberate and purposeful rather than im-
pulsive, self-regulated rather than reactive, and mediated by language or
other symbolic cultural tools. Of all mental functions, perception becomes
the ﬁrst to be transformed from a set of diffuse and disorganized sensa-
tions into the system of stable representations with culturally determined
meanings. Other mental functions, such as attention, memory, and imagi-
nation, only start their process of transformation during the preschool age
and acquire their deliberate and mediated forms during primary school
The beginning of preschool age is the time when child’s mental functions
ﬁrst become organized in a uniquely human and systemic way. Designating
memory as the dominant mental function of preschool age that will be
later replaced by thinking in school-aged children, Vygotsky notes that
for younger children “thinking is remembering,” whereas for the older
ones “remembering is thinking” (Vygotsky, 1998). Before the preschool
years, the child’s cognitive functioning is dominated by perception and
other mental functions, such as memory, attention, and thinking, are not
yet separated from it. In this sense, Vygotsky’s description of cognitive
functioning of toddlers is similar to that of authors (such as Piaget) who
refer to this period as the period of sensori-motor thinking.
The systemic organization of the preschooler’s mind is the outgrowth
of the processes that take place during the previous – early – age and
is primarily associated with children’s mastery of speech. As they use
speech to communicate to others, toddlers form and then reﬁne their ﬁrst
generalizations – the development that Vygotsky considered critical in
Learning and Development of Preschool Children
integrating thought and language. These ﬁrst generalizations refer pri-
marily to immediately perceived objects and help young children build a
constant picture of the world around them. As children start using words in
addition to manipulating physical objects, their thought becomes liberated
from the limitations of what is immediately perceived, and consequently
perception loses its dominant position in children’s minds. Ability to store
and retrieve the images of the past, now greatly enhanced by children’s
use of language, makes it possible to use past experience in a variety of
situations – from communication to problem solving – thus placing
memory in the center of the cognitive functioning of preschoolers.
The nature of ﬁrst generalizations reﬂects general changes in the struc-
ture of the child’s mental functions. In his study of concept development
(Vygotsky, 1987), Vygotsky traces the evolution of the content behind gen-
eralizations used by children of different ages. He describes the very ﬁrst
generalizations – typically appearing at the end of infancy and beginning of
toddlerhood – as syncrets that are based on the child’s general and undiffer-
entiated emotional perception of an object or an action. As toddlers acquire
larger vocabularies and larger repertoires of practical actions, their gener-
alizations become tied to their perception – the dominant mental function
of the period immediately preceding preschool age. Preschoolers develop
more elaborate generalizations, which transcend the limits of perceived
characteristics of the objects to include characteristics that can be inferred
(such as their function or relation to other objects). These inferences are
often based on children’s past experience, emphasizing the important role
memory plays in the mental functioning of preschoolers. However, even
these, more advanced, generalizations are not yet true concepts: Concept
formation according to Vygotsky requires the child’s ability to use words
or other signs in a speciﬁc instrumental function (Vygotsky, 1987).
The ability to use words in their instrumental function develops during
primary school years and can be largely attributed to the speciﬁc social
situation of development that children of this age enter – formal school-
ing. Acquisition of speciﬁc cultural competencies such as literacy brings
about a major change in children’s use of words and other cultural tools.
However, certain preparatory processes must occur during the preschool
years to allow this major change to take place. One of these processes is
children’s use of words and other signs (such as gestures) in a symbolic
way. Vygotsky notes that younger preschoolers are not yet able to sepa-
rate an object from the word that labels this object. It takes several years
of increasingly complex make-believe play for children to become able to
think of the words (and other symbols) independently of the objects they
Describing development of speech during preschool years, Vygotskyfocused primarily on children’s use of oral language, while recognizing
children’s drawing as an emergent form of written speech. Preschool age
160 Elena Bodrova and Deborah J. Leong
is the period when children’s use of oral language undergoes the most
dramatic change. According to Vygotsky, it is during preschool years, that
children start using their speech not only for communicating to others but
also for communicating to themselves, and a new form of speech – private
– emerges. Unlike Piaget, who associated this phenomenon with
children’s egocentrism and considered it a sign of immature thinking,
Vygotsky viewed private speech as a step on the continuum from pub-
lic (social) speech to inner speech and eventually to verbal thinking
(Vygotsky, 1987). From this perspective, private speech becomes not a sign
of immaturity but instead a sign of progressive development of cognitive
Vygotsky described two major changes that occur in the use of pri-
vate speech during preschool years. First, the function of private speech
changes. Children start using private speech to accompany their practical
actions. At this point, it is closely intertwined with social speech, which
is directed to other people and which, Vygotsky believes, serves as a pre-
cursor to private speech. Later, private speech becomes exclusively self-
directed and changes its function to organize children’s own behavior. At
the same time, the syntax of private speech changes as well. From com-
plete sentences typical for social speech, a child’s utterances change into
abbreviated phrases and single words unsuited for the purposes of com-
munication to other people but sufﬁcient for communicating to oneself.
Vygotsky uses these two metamorphoses of private speech to illustrate
what he believed to be the universal path of the acquisition of cultural
tools: They are ﬁrst used externally in interactions with other people and
then internalized and used by an individual to master his or her own men-
tal functions. The onset of private speech marks an important point in the
development of children’s thinking: the beginning of verbal thought. At
the same time it signals an important development in self-regulation: Start-
ing with regulation of their practical actions, children expand their use of
private speech to use it to regulate a variety of their mental processes.
Development of Self-Regulation
The concept of self-regulation plays a prominent role in Vygotsky’s view
of the preschool years, constituting one of the most critical advances in
child development that happens at this time. According to Vygotsky, what
changes in preschool years is the relationship between child’s intentions
and their subsequent implementation in actions. Younger preschoolers act
spontaneously, paying no attention to the possible consequences of their
Vygotsky used the term egocentric speech to describe audible self-directed speech; however,in the Western literature, this phenomenon is commonly referred to as private speech (see,
e.g., Berk & Winsler, 1995).
Learning and Development of Preschool Children
actions. By the end of preschool age, children acquire the ability to plan
the actions before executing them. Whether they discuss the play scenario
with their peers, choose paints for their art project, or decide on the ﬁnal
appearance of their block structure – in all these situations children are
guided by a mental image of the future actions (Vygotsky, 1956). Vygotsky
writes about the development of self-regulation in preschoolers in two
contexts – in relation to the development of private speech and in relation
to the development of make-believe play. Private speech provides children
with the tool: The same words that adults used to use to regulate children’s
behavior can be now used by children themselves for the purposes of self-
regulation. Make-believe play provides a unique context that supports the
use of self-regulation through a system of roles and corresponding rules.
Play also keeps preschoolers willing to forgo their immediate wishes in
favor of following the rules by allowing them to fulﬁll their greater desires
in a symbolic form.
Do'stlaringiz bilan baham:
©2018 Учебные документы
Рады что Вы стали частью нашего образовательного сообщества.