Impact of Lev Vygotsky on Special Education/L'INFLUENCE DE VYGOTSKY SUR L'ÉDUCATION SPÉCIALE

By Yan-bin, Wang | Canadian Social Science, October 31, 2009 | Go to article overview

Impact of Lev Vygotsky on Special Education/L'INFLUENCE DE VYGOTSKY SUR L'ÉDUCATION SPÉCIALE


Yan-bin, Wang, Canadian Social Science


Abstract:

Lev Vygotsky is a famous psychologist from former Soviet Union, whose theory made great contribution to defectology. The paradigm to educate children with special requirements is derived from his theory on children development. This paper mainly discusses Lev Vygotsky's views on disabled children and how to educate them, his standard on measure of mental block education and some relevant issues.

Key words: special education; Lev Vygotsk; Zone of Proximal Development

Résumé: Vygotsky est un célèbre psychologue de l'URSS. Ses idées ont beaucoup contribué à la théorie de défectuosité. De sa théorie sur le développement de l'enfant, dérive le model de l'éducation des enfants ayant des besoins spéciaux. Cet article tente d'analyser le point de vue de Vygotski sur des enfants handicapés, les critères de mesure de l'éducation psychologique, l'éducation des enfants handicapés et des thèmes qui y sont liés.

Mots-Clés: éducation spéciale; Vygotsky; novelle zone de développement

Lev Vygotsky (1896-1934) is one of the most influential psychologists in 20th century, whose main researching interest is in relationship of thinking and language, learning and development of children. He is heightened for great attention by the academic community in psychology and education. Although he was born in the same year as Piaget, he died at the age of 38 for pulmonary tuberculosis. Because of an early death and the born place of Soviet Union, Lev Vygotsky is rarely known in academic community. Till the 1960s, his theory received great attention and then he was praised as the "Mozart in psychology". Lev Vygotsky is an expert on methodology of psychology, cognitive development, psychology linguistics and theory of learning. However, his contribution to special education is rarely discussed. This essay will investigate Lev Vygotsky' impact on special education from the aspects bellow:

1. ZONE OF PROXIMAL DEVELOPMENT (ZPD)

Lev Vygotsky thinks the development of mind is originated from interaction of the person with society. The procession of learning and development is neither unitary nor independent mutually. What's the relationship between these two factors? He puts forward a new theory: Zone of Proximal Development. Lev Vygotsky points out: development can be classified into two levels. One is the real level of development, on which children can solve problems independently; the other is potential level of development, on which children can solve problem under the guidance of adult people or in corporation with peers with higher capability. The biggest difference between the two levels is the "Zone of Proximal Development" (Vygotsky,L.S., 1978). Lev Vygotsky thinks the Zone of Proximal Development can illustrate the function of procession not matured yet being towards maturity. Therefore, the view of mental development in the Zone of Proximal Development is foresighted, while the view of the level on real development is backdated.

One of Lev Vygotsky 's purposes for bringing forward the theory of Zone of Proximal Development is to correct the phenomenon that psychological tests are misused. In fact, psychological tests are supposed to be a relevance to teachers prior to teaching, not the only basis. It's the start point of teaching instead of the ending point. In his opinion, the psychological tests can only measure the children's real level of development, which shows their capacity without others' assistance. However, the capacity displayed by children in others' assistance is the object of teaching. Lev Vygotsky's theory of Zone of Proximal Development exerts profound influence on prediction, diagnosis, and remedy of the students' learning ability, the decision of teaching object, the carrying on of teaching activities as well as assessment of teaching results. The theory of Zone of Proximal Development is the foundation of the forming of Dynamic assessment (This term is first put forward by Israeli scholar Feuerstein in 1979). …

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