Vygotsky sociocultural development | Individuals and Society | MCAT | Khan Academy
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Vygotsky sociocultural development | Individuals and Society | MCAT | Khan Academy

Voiceover: All right, the next theory
that we’re going to take a look at is Vygotsky’s Theory of Development, which is also the Sociocultural Theory of
Development. So building upon the importance of social
interaction, Vygotsky studies the role that social interaction plays in
the development of cognition. So he was really focused on the social
interaction between children, which are obviously growing, so
he focused on children and their growth development, the interactions
they had with those around them, in the development of their cognition and
their higher order learning. Now Vygotsky actually, unfortunately,
passed away at a very young age; he was only 38, so much of his theory was
left unfinished. But from what we do know of what he did
discover and what he did theorize, gives us a lot of insight into this theory
of development. So Vygotsky developed this theory and he
said that babies had elementary mental functions, and there are
four of them. So these elementary mental functions, I’m
gonna just right short-hand M F for mental
function. So he said there were four of them. One of them is attention. So we have attention; we have sensation,
as babies remember. We have perception, and we also have
memory. So these are the four elementary mental
functions that babies have. Now eventually through interaction with
their environment, the socio-culture
environment, these elementary mental functions are developed into more sophisticated and effective mental
processes or strategies. And this is what we call our higher mental
functions. So much of our important learning that a
child goes through occurs through the social
interaction with a skillful tutor. So whether it’s their teacher, their
parents someone older. So this tutor acts as a model, and they
model their behaviors, or they provide verbal
instruction for the child. So the child often tries to understand the
actions or instructions provided by the tutor, often
the parent or the teacher. And then they internalize it. And they use to that to actually guide and
regulate their own performance. So let’s take a little trip down memory
lane, memory lane. Think about when you were a little kid,
and when you were given your first puzzle to
put together. I remember when I had my first puzzle, and
I was trying to solve it all alone; I had a
really hard time. But I also remember my dad sitting right
next to me and describing and demonstrating some basic
techniques and tips and strategies to solve it. So he first told me to put, or actually
find all the corner and edge pieces and to separate
those from the middle pieces. And he gave me a couple pieces to put together and kept on encouraging me as I
went along. So eventually, I became more competent,
and my father didn’t have to sit next to me, and he was just able to watch
me solve the puzzle. I was able to learn I was actually able to
work more independently. So higher mental functions are
characterized more by independent learning and thinking. But that can only be cultivated by the
elementary mental functions, which involve a tutor or someone older who acts as a
guide through which we model our behavior. So according Vygotsky, this type of social
interaction involves cooperative and collaborative dialogue, and that’s what promotes this cognitive ability or
development. So, in this example I was telling you
about, my dad was an MKO, which is a more
knowledgeable other. So this is the first key term that I want
you to know. MKO stands for more knowledgeable other. So this is one term that Vygotsky defined. So the more knowledgeable other is basically someone who has a better
understanding or a higher ability level than the
learner, which, in this example, was me. I was the learner. So this MKO has a higher level of, of
understanding and ability with respect to whatever the
task is at hand. So in this case, my dad was an MKO cuz he
had a better understanding of how to put the
puzzle together than I did. So an MKO is someone else, but then we
have to add in that sociocultural factor. So the interaction of myself, which is
right here, with the MKO, the other person is what leads to learning,
which I’ll put over here. And it’s what also leads to these higher
mental functions in independence. Now the second key term that I want you to
know is called the zone of proximal development, so ZPD for short, but I’ll
just write it out here. So it’s called the zone of proximal
development, and basically, I’m gonna illustrate in a second for you
what what this looks like. But this zone of proximal development is
the part where the most sensitive instruction or
guidance should be given. So in my puzzle example, I was in that
zone of proximal development because I was most sensitive to the
information my father was giving me. I was between the ability of being able to do something and not being able to do
something. And then that zone of guidance that I
received is what allowed me to transition from the set of skills I
already had to a more expanded set of skills by learning, and going beyond what
I had already known. So this is what develops these higher
mental functions. So let’s pretend that this is our, right
here I’m gonna draw a box. And this box right here represents
everything that’s beyond our reach and what we can’t do. So I’m gonna do, put a big Can’t Do over here, and this little circle inside over
here represents everything we can do currently; in our
current state, it’s what we can do. And according to Vygotsky, the zone of
proximal development is the link between the two, right in here, your ZPD. And that is the zone or the area that’s
most sensitive to instructional guidance, that allows the
learner or child to develop the skills they already have and to use it on
their own and go beyond into the areas they can’t do, to
expand that learning. So for example, I couldn’t solve the
jigsaw puzzle by myself when I was little; it would have taken me such a long
time to do or at all. But I was able to solve it, following the
interaction with my father. The ZPD involves and interaction with the
MKO. And eventually, I developed that
competence of that skill that I can also use in the future. So this arrow right here, just gonna show
you, is what represents all of our learning and our
development. Now another important part of Vygotsky’s
theory was the importance of language. So I’ll put that right over here. Number three is language. So according to Vygotsky, he said that
language is the main means by which adults transmit info to children, and it’s also a very powerful tool of intellectual
adaptation. So he looked at private speech. Now private speech is also called internal
speech. It’s when people talk out loud to
themselves. Which happens most likely with what type
of populations? Do adults speak out loud to themselves a
lot or do children? Well, it’s actually children. Most children engage in private speech. And he, Vygotsky, sees this as a way for
children to plan activities and strategies, and
this aids in their development. This active speaking to themselves,
talking out loud. So he said this language is, therefore, an accelerator for thinking and
understanding. So children who engage in large amounts of
private speech are actually much more socially competent than children
who do not use it that much. So he believed that language develops from social interactions for communication
purposes. And later language ability becomes
internalized as thought. So as we grow older, it becomes more
internalized, which is called our inner speech, so basically,
thought is a result of language. That ability to think for ourselves and
develop that independence of executing skills comes from this importance of language, according to
Vygotsky. So there you have it. These are the three main parts of his

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59 thoughts on “Vygotsky sociocultural development | Individuals and Society | MCAT | Khan Academy

  1. As far as I understood Vygotsky, language bore higher-order knowledge by giving birth to analytical reasoning in part due to the serialization required by language. Sign usage is a primitive in development (language being a more evolved medium of sign usage), and as such, learning affords a sociocultural philosophy. 

  2. I think Vygotsky's ZPD has merit and is a great teaching tool.  However, as Michael intimated, sign's are ways of articulating and expressing thought. Thus, ancient humans were thinking "I'm hungry" so, they then made a symbolic gesture of holding food in their hand and bringing it to their mouths.  This became the sign for hungry.  Clearly, thought comes prior to language (sign creation and signification), not language constructing thought.  

  3. Thank you so much. This is a very good overview of his theory. When my lecturer explained it, it was like she is telling tales. But now, It makes sense.
     Bless you

  4. I talk out loud to myself even at this age despite it being socially unacceptable, I think this behavior helped me a lot.

  5. Constructive feedback
    Maybe it's my personal taste, but I think that you could have shortened this video down to 6 minutes. That would have it easier for me to follow and maintain my interest.

  6. Fantastic! I love the video, thank you soo very much! 
    The way you elaborate and explain is clear! I am a teacher, and it is absolutely fantastic to learn through your video!
    God bless!!

  7. I thought that last bit – thoughts give rise to language – was at least a bit debated. How can you have a thought if you can not have a word for it?

  8. Thank you so much for explaining that so beautifully. I loved your use of colored written text to highlight the different components of the theory. It really broke it down for me in a way I could better understand it in simpler terms. I still use self talk so I must be a Vygotski child to this day. I'm a child development professional working in the field of early childhood education and this is going to help me write a paper for my current class. Thanks so much. I'm subscribing and hoping you'll make more videos in the future for me to explore for the purpose of simply refreshing my knowledge and continuing my education on my own.

  9. Great explanation to Vygotsky's theory. I'm currently in nursing school and taking up a research class. Plan on using Vygotsky's theory as my framework. This helped so much! Thank you!

  10. Thank you so much for sharing. I love all the videos under the topic of individual and society from Khan. They really help me understand deeper the phycology books I’ve read. The teacher did a great demonstrates on each section of knowledge. The class is easy to understand with clear structure and explanations. Thank you so much. I’ve learned a lot

  11. For individuals in the future use these two references to site this video


    http://www.citationmachine.net/apa (once cited then just copy the reference)

    I'm currently in school for my Master's in Education and these references are live savers.

  12. in another khan video, it was said that vygotsky believed that language and thought both impacted each other. smh

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