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Young Children and Death/Literature: Vgotsky's socio-cultural theory - Essay Example

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Vygotsky’s (1978) social cultural theory expounds on the influence that culture, peers and adults have on cognitive development of a child. Social cultural theory holds that the social interaction occurs before development and consequently, cognitions and consciousness are the results of socialization of a child with peers, adults and other people that form part of social environment of the growing child (Vygotsky, 1978). …
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Young Children and Death/Literature: Vgotskys socio-cultural theory
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Download file to see previous pages The social cultural theory has three main themes, which include the More Knowledgeable Other (MKO), the zone of proximal development in addition to the role of social interaction in cognitive development. The more knowledgeable other (MKO) is any person with a higher level of understanding in comparison with the learner. The higher level of understanding could be in form of skill, concept or a process. In development process of children, more knowledgeable other could be a teacher, parent, tutor, peers, younger persons and Driscoll (1994) noted that inanimate equipment such as computer could also be MKO. According to Vygotsky (1978) the zone of proximal development is the distance between the a child’s real development level , that is determined by independent problem solving, and the higher level of potential development as determined through problem solving under adult guidance or in assistance with more capable peers. In this regard, Vygotsky (1978) supposes that zonal proximal development enhances in the determination of mental functioning of a children, who have not yet matured but are in the process of maturing. Zonal proximal development is crucial because it is characterized by dynamism, which enables transition of interpsychological to intrapsychological states to happen (Driscoll, 1994). Vygotsky’s social cultural theory is useful especially in making preschool children understand death using books. The theory acknowledges the role that more experienced person and social environment helps in socializing the child with different aspects including death. Preschool children perceive death of a close member differently. According to Danai and Costas (1991), very young children understand facts best because they think in a particular, solid manner. In this regard, using direct words such as passing away, sleep or long trip are usually misinterpreted by children to mean that death is reversible and the deceased might return in future. The children might keep on pestering their parents or anyone close to them about when a dead person will return (Danai, and Costas, 1991). Moreover, children in this age do not realize that death happens to all people and every other living thing. In addition, they keep on asking questions about death many times, with an objective of learning facts from close people. Another defining characteristic of how preschool children perceive death is that they believe that their thoughts have power over another person’s death, and they might think that they are personally responsible for the death of their loved one (Danai and Costas, 1991). According to Vygotsky (1978), using books to help preschool children understand death enables them to create a zone of proximal development, which awakens various internalized developmental processes that only function when the child is interacting with people, peers and the environment. Therefore using books to help preschool children understand death enables them to internalize it, becoming part of the child’s independent developmental process. In this regard, books do not act directly act as the source of information, but the parent, who reads the information to the child acts as the source of instruction. To create ZPD, Vygotsky (1978) noted that biological process also plays a significant role besides the instructions. In this regard, the level of child’s understanding about death depends on the developmental stage of the child in addition to the quality of the instructions given. Therefore, instructions and the developmental stage of the child are not always compatible because they are two independent ...Download file to see next pages Read More
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