Lev Vygotsky  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Lev Semyonovich Vygotsky (1896 – 1934) was a Soviet Belarusian psychologist, the founder of a theory of human cultural and bio-social development commonly referred to as cultural-historical psychology, and leader of the Vygotsky Circle.

Vygotsky's main work was in developmental psychology, and he proposed a theory of the development of higher cognitive functions in children that saw reasoning as emerging through practical activity in a social environment. During the earlier period of his career he argued that the development of reasoning was mediated by signs and symbols, and therefore contingent on cultural practices and language as well as on universal cognitive processes.

Vygotsky also posited a concept of the Zone of Proximal Development, often understood to refer to the way in which the acquisition of new knowledge is dependent on previous learning, as well as the availability of instruction.

During his lifetime Vygotsky's theories were controversial within the Soviet Union. In the 1930s Vygotsky's ideas were introduced in the West where they remained virtually unknown until the 1970s when they became a central component of the development of new paradigms in developmental and educational psychology. While initially Vygotsky's theories were ignored in the West, they are today widely known, although scholars do not always agree with them, or agree about what he meant. The early 21st century has seen scholarly reevaluations of many of Vygotsky's central concepts and theories.



Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Lev Vygotsky" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on original research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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