Philosophical and Psychological
Foundations of Education
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LEV VYGOTSKY

Lev Vygotsky

 

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Excerpts from Mind in Society

Chapter 1: Tool and Symbol in Child Development

Speech plays an essential role in the organization of higher psychological functions. ~ Lev Vygotsky, Mind in Society


Speech and action are part of one and the same complex psychological function, directed toward the solution of the problem at hand. ~ Lev Vygotsky, Mind in Society


Sometimes speech becomes of such vital importance that, if not permitted to use it, young children cannot accomplish the given task. ~ Lev Vygotsky, Mind in Society


With the help of speech children, unlike apes, acquire the capacity to be both the subjects and objects of their own behavior. ~ Lev Vygotsky, Mind in Society


The specifically human capacity for language enables children to provide for auxiliary tools in the solution of difficult tasks, to overcome impulsive action, to plan a solution to a problem prior to its execution, and to master their own behavior. ~ Lev Vygotsky, Mind in Society


Signs and words serve children first and foremost as a means of social contact with other people. ~ Lev Vygotsky, Mind in Society


Chapter 2: The Development of Perception and Attention

The child begins to perceive the world not only through his eyes but also through his speech. ~ Lev Vygotsky, Mind in Society


All human perception consists of categorized rather than isolated perceptions. ~ Lev Vygotsky, Mind in Society


Scholars have noted that the ability or inability to direct one's attention is an essential determinant of the success or failure of any practical operation. ~ Lev Vygotsky, Mind in Society


There is reason to believe that voluntary activity, more than highly developed intellect, distinguishes humans from the animals which stand closest to them. ~ Lev Vygotsky, Mind in Society


Chapter 3: Mastery of Memory and Thinking

The history of the development of the higher psychological functions is impossible without a study of their prehistory, their biological roots, and their organic disposition. ~ Lev Vygotsky, Mind in Society


It may be said that the basic characteristic of human behavior in general is that humans personally influence their relations with the environment and through that environment personally change their behavior, subjugating it to their control. ~ Lev Vygotsky, Mind in Society


Chapter 4: Internalization of Higher Psychological Functions

The use of artificial means, the transition to mediated activity, fundamentally changes all psychological operations just as the use of tools limitlessly broadens the range of activities within which the new psychological functions may operate. ~ Lev Vygotsky, Mind in Society


Development, as often happens, proceeds here not in a circle but in a spiral, passing through the same point at each new revolution while advancing to a higher level. ~ Lev Vygotsky, Mind in Society


Every function in the child's cultural development appears twice: first on the social level, and later, on the individual level. ~ Lev Vygotsky, Mind in Society


Chapter 5: Problems of Method

The dialectical approach, while admitting the influence of nature on man, asserts that man, in turn, affects nature and creates through his changes in nature new natural conditions for his existence. ~ Lev Vygotsky, Mind in Society


Psychology teaches us at every step that though two types of activity can have the same external manifestation, whether in origin or essence, their nature may differ most profoundly. ~ Lev Vygotsky, Mind in Society


Where upheavals occur, where the historical fabric is ruptured, the naive mind sees only catastrophe, gaps, and discontinuity. . . . Scientific thought, on the contrary, sees revolution and evolution as two forms of development that are mutually related and mutually presuppose each other. ~ Lev Vygotsky, Mind in Society


Chapter 6: Interaction between Learning and Development

What children can do with the assistance of others might be in some sense even more indicative of their mental development than what they can do alone. ~ Lev Vygotsky, Mind in Society


The actual developmental level characterizes mental development retrospectively, while the zone of proximal development characterizes mental development prospectively. ~ Lev Vygotsky, Mind in Society


Human learning presupposes a specific social nature and a process by which children grow into the intellectual life of those around them. ~ Lev Vygotsky, Mind in Society


The only "good learning" is that which is in advance of development. ~ Lev Vygotsky, Mind in Society


Development in children never follows school learning the way a shadow follow the object that casts it. In actuality, there are highly complex dynamic relations between developmental and learning processes that cannot be encompassed by an unchanging hypothetical formulation. ~ Lev Vygotsky, Mind in Society


Chapter 7: The Role of Play in Development

Every [developmental] advance is connected with a marked change in motives, inclinations, and incentives. ~ Lev Vygotsky, Mind in Society


What passes unnoticed by the child in real life becomes a rule of behavior in play. ~ Lev Vygotsky, Mind in Society


Just as the imaginary situation has to contain rules of behavior, so every game with rules contains an imaginary situation. ~ Lev Vygotsky, Mind in Society


A child's greatest achievements are possible in play, achievements that tomorrow will become her basic level of real action and morality. ~ Lev Vygotsky, Mind in Society


As in the focus of a magnifying glass, play contains all developmental tendencies in a condensed form and is itself a major source of development. ~ Lev Vygotsky, Mind in Society


Chapter 8: The Prehistory of Written Language

[The development of writing] recalls the development of a technical skill such as piano-playing: the pupil develops finger dexterity and learns to strike the keys while reading music, but he is in no way involved in the essence of the music itself. ~ Lev Vygotsky, Mind in Society


Writing should be meaningful for children, that an intrinsic need should be aroused in them, and that writing should be incorporated into a task that is necessary and relevant for life. ~ Lev Vygotsky, Mind in Society


Excerpts from Educational Psychology: A Century of Contributions
Chapter 9: Lev Vygotsky on Education: A Cultural-Historical, Interpersonal, and Individual Approach to Development

The better translation also enables readers to understand that when a zone of proximal development is created in the course of interaction between a teacher and child, or between two or more peers, all participants participate both in the creation and in the subsequent development that may occur. ~ J. Tudge & S. Scrimsher, "Lev Vygotsky on Education"


"Any function in the child's cultural development appears on the stage twice, or on two planes, first the social, then the psychological, first between people as an intermental category, then within the child as a[n] intermental category." ~ Lev Vygotsky, as quoted in J. Tudge & S. Scrimsher, "Lev Vygotsky on Education"


"Development is not a simple function which can be wholly determined by adding X units of heredity to Y units of environment. It is a historical complex which, at every stage, reveals the past which is a part of it. . . . Development, according to a well-known definition, is precisely the struggle of opposites." ~ Lev Vygotsky, as quoted in J. Tudge & S. Scrimsher, "Lev Vygotsky on Education"


In the course of development, children change by virtue of the experiences that they previously had, as well as the meaning those experiences have had for them. ~ J. Tudge & S. Scrimsher, "Lev Vygotsky on Education"


Vygotsky believed that one only knows what is maturing in the child's development by discovering what he or she can do with help. ~ J. Tudge & S. Scrimsher, "Lev Vygotsky on Education"


At the core of Vygotsky's theory is the sense that children must be actively involved in teaching/learning relationships with more competent others who both learn from children and draw them into fuller membership in their cultural world. ~ J. Tudge & S. Scrimsher, "Lev Vygotsky on Education"


 

 

 
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