In Chapter 10, we were introduced to Lev Vygotsky, a Russian researcher. In contrast to Piaget, Vygotsky's cognitive development theory focused on how social and cultural influences guided development. Piaget focused on a child's physical interaction with his environment, whereas Vygotsky focused on a child's interaction with his social and cultural environment.
Vygotsky developed a term called the zone of proximal development. The zone of proximal development is defined by our textbook as the "phase of learning during which children can benefit from instruction." The zone of proximal development is a range. The bottom of the range is the level of tasks that a child can perform on his own. The top of the range is the level of tasks that a child can complete independently. Inside the range lies the zone of proximal development (tasks that a child can complete with assistance from an adult or a more experienced child). A child can progress through the range by use of scaffolding. Vygotsky developed the term scaffolding within the context of the zone of proximal development. Scaffolding is the term used to describe how parents help their child by providing a structure that helps him become able to independently complete the task on his own. As a child learns a new task, parents gradually remove the scaffolding until the child learns the task.
I also like how Vygotsky valued the role of other students in education. He did not specify that only adults could best teach children. He specified that a student's peers could also teach a child. In the video below, a child teaches his brother his multiplication tables: