Most educators are familiar with Lev Vygotsky's concept of the "zone of proximal development," yet the bulk of Vygotsky's pioneering theory of cognitive development largely remains unknown. This unique volume provides a systematic, authoritative overview of Vygotsky's work and its implications for educational research and practice. Major topics include how children develop higher-order thinking; the influences on cognitive development of teacher–student interactions, the family, and culture; and critical and stable periods in development from infancy through adolescence. Key concepts and research methods are explained in detail, and classroom examples and instructional suggestions are provided.
"'People develop in interaction with others.' Too often, this assertion is treated as a summary of the theory of Lev Vygotsky. But, according to Vygotsky, development also occurs in interaction with the larger society, its tools, and its history. Vygotsky's theory is not known for its transparency, but Gredler and Shields have captured the essence of the theory, making it accessible to a much broader audience of students of psychology and education. This book clarifies Vygotsky’s thinking while staying true to its complexity and depth."
—Diane E. Beals, EdD, School of Education, University of Tulsa
"Gredler and Shields provide an engaging, clear exposition of Vygotsky's sociocultural theory. The opening chapter sets the stage with relevant background information, including the sociohistorical context of the field of psychology during Vygotsky's career. The book is well organized and includes brief chapter overviews, connections to previous chapters, and section summaries, as well as pertinent examples and valuable applications of theoretical principles. Providing clear explanations of the major theoretical constructs of Vygotsky's work, this book is appropriate for advanced undergraduate- and graduate-level courses in education, psychology, learning theory, or development."
—Marlynn M. Griffin, PhD, Department of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading, Georgia Southern University
I. General Principles
2. Research Methods
3. Cultural Signs and Symbols
4. Development of the Higher Psychological Functions
II. Major Cultural Signs
5. Speech and Cognitive Development
6. Development of Thinking in Concepts
III. The Cycle of Development
7. Structure and Dynamics of Age-Related Development
8. Development of World View and Personality
IV. Some Implications of Vygotsky's Theory
9. A New Way of Thinking
Appendix A. The Cross-Cultural Study
Appendix B. Shif's Research
Margaret E. Gredler, PhD, Department of Educational Psychology, University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC; and Carolyn Claytor Shields, PhD, College of Education, Winthrop University, Rock Hill, SC