In these final words we want to list the main ideas comprised in Vygotsky’s approach. The author’s vision of the world is inspired from a materialist and dialectic vision, and, starting from this philosophic basis, he proposed a picture of man’s psychological activity. Vygotsky’s approach towards this activity is opposite to the essentialist biological approach of psychology, so his ideas criticized the exponents of traditional psychology.
Vygotsky wanted to apply the historical-genetic method, because he considered that different aspects of psychological activity cannot be understood as given facts, available once and for all, but as products of a both phylogenetic and ontogenetic evolution. The historical and cultural development of the human being is strongly related to and determined by this evolution. His theoretical conception allows us to think about the pedagogical act, which is supposed to open new paths that will inspire the creation of new strategies in order to improve the process of teaching and learning.
In this respect, one of the main contributions Vygotsky brought is the idea that there is a close relationship between different processes of development; his position, in this matter, is clearly genetic: he understands these processes by studying them from their origins. Then, he divides them in several categories: phylogenetic (the development of the human species), socio-genetic (history of social groups), ontogenetic (development of the individual) and micro-genetic (the study of the particular aspect in the psychological repertoire of the subjects). The learning process is also paramount in the author’s conception of man. His proposals are clearly dialectical, as he focuses not on the acquisition of knowledge, nor on the subject or the object, but on the interaction between them. Therefore, in his view, the process of learning is related to development.
The idea of learning as a process that always involves the interaction between people is directly related to this socio-historical approach of the psychological functioning of the human being. In the construction of typically human processes, it is essential to establish inter-personal relationships: the relationship of the subject with the world is established through the mediation of other subjects.
|To sum up, we can say that there are three main contributions that Vygotsky brought to school teaching:
1. The psychological development must be regarded in a prospective manner, with reference to what is necessary for eventual success in a person’s individual development (developmental outbreaks).
2. The zone of proximal development, seen as a psychological domain in continuous expansion. In pedagogical terms, it implies that the role of the teacher is to make the student advance in a way that would never happen spontaneously. This makes the process of development go on.
3. The individual doesn’t possess in themselves the necessary instruments for achieving full development. This aspect refers to the importance of the intervention of other members of the social group as mediators between the individual and the cultural environment.