BEST STARTS FOR KIDS
The Importance of Proximal Development
Step by Step Parenting Tips 5
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It's important to note that to successfully link new knowledge and skills, the chances of success are much higher, if they're in the zone of proximal development... Close to what the learner already knows
Vygotsky's theory of Proximal Development underpins the link between socially supported development and skill development.
His theory, (along with practical applications devised by Bruner, Wood and Ross,) is based upon a three stage learning process.
Foundational or Independent Zone: The things your child can do or understand independently.
New knowledge, or skills, link to existing knowledge and skills.
Proximal Development Zone: The things someone can do, or understand, with assistance.
This new skill, or information, requires some form of scaffolding from a knowledgeable other (parent, teacher, mentor,) to help the individual learn and retain new information and skills.
Too Difficult Zone: The things someone cannot do, or understand at this time.
This means that the person does not as yet, have the necessary skills, or information, for the task to be completed or the information to be retained.
I can do these skills and can recall this knowledge on my own.
PROXIMAL LEVEL: I can do this next level of skills, and link this new knowledge to my existing knowledge with your help and support.
TOO DIFFICULT ZONE
Regardless of whether I'm helped, or not, this level of knowledge is beyond my ability to understand and retain. The skills at this level are also too complex at this time.
By working within the area of PROXIMAL DEVELOPMENT, mentors and teachers can expand the INDEPENDENT LEVEL
(or Foundational level) of a child
By working in the TOO DIFFICULT ZONE children often become frustrated and cannot recall new information or skills
Working in the Proximal Zone of Development encourages children and positively challenges them as long as their foundational levels are known and they are adequately supported in a co-operative learning situation.
By working in the Area of Proximal Development children gain a sense of satisfaction as they learn new skills and knowledge. And they can retain them to use independently at a later time.
Working in the Too Difficult Zone of Development causes children stress and does not improve their skill or knowledge level. It is waste of time.
And sadly, by regularly working in the Too Difficult Zone it's more than likely to create a negative attitude towards learning in general over time.
And this theory explains why some children are able to learn new information more quickly than others. Their zone of proximal development encompasses a wider range of things because their independent (or foundational) learning level is more advanced.
'A child's greatest achievements are possible in play, achievements that tomorrow will become her basic level of real action. What a child can do in cooperation today, he can do alone tomorrow.'
For more information go to the link below on developing independent learners:
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