Sociocultural Theory in Language Learning | TESL Issues

Sociocultural Theory in Language Learning Sociocultural theory is based on work by the Russian psychologist, Vygotsky, and represents a fundamentally different way of looking at language and learning. Sociocultural theory is grounded in the ontology of the social individual. A sociocultural approach considers language and, by extension, second language acquisition as contextually situated and is … Read more

Classroom Assessment | TESL Issues

Classroom Assessment Classroom Assessment According to Brookhart (2003), in classroom assessment, assessment and learning are integrated within the classroom. She sees this in terms of Vygotsky’s (1978) notion of the zone of proximal development, or that space between what the individual can accomplish independently and what he/she can do with assistance. Personal knowledge of the … Read more

Form-Focused Instruction in Language Teaching

Form-Focused Instruction Form-Focused Instruction Traditionally, language pedagogy has emphasized form-focused instruction. The Grammar-Translation Method and the Audiolingual Method both involve attempts to teach learners grammar, differing only in how this is to be accomplished (Ellis, 1997). Form-focused Instruction is in contrast with ‘naturalistic learning’. It intends to examine whether instruction could change the natural order … Read more

Constructivism and Cognitive Development | TESL Issues

Constructivism Constructivism The main underlying assumption of constructivism is that individuals are actively involved right from birth in constructing personal meaning, that is, their own personal understanding from their experience (Williams & Burden, 1997). In other words, everyone makes their own sense of the world and the experiences that surround them. In this way, the … Read more

Activity Theory and SLA | TESL Lessons

Activity Theory Activity Theory was developed by a group of Russian psychologists called the Kharkovites, of which the best known is A. N. Leont’ev. This theory was a development of Vygotskian theory. Lantolf (2000) described it as “a unified account of Vygotsky’s original proposals on the nature and development of human behavior” (p. 8). Leontiev … Read more

Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) | TESL Issues

Zone of Proximal Development

Zone of Proximal Development

  • The Actual Developmental Level: According to Vygotsky (1978, p. 85), it is the level of development of the child’s mental functions that has been established as a result of certain already completed developmental cycles.
  • The Potential Developmental Level: It is performed through problem solving activities undertaken with the assistance of an adult (an expert) or through collaboration with peers (novices). This second level of development is the main one in ZPD. As Vygotsky has stated, it is the ‘bud’ rather than the ‘fruit’ of development.
  • In the third level of development, the learner is unable to perform the task even if assistance is provided.

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