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Zone of Proximal Development (Vygotsky, Lev)

The zone of proximal development (ZPD) is a key concept in Lev Vygotsky’s cultural–historical theory of human development and learning. Vygotsky (sometimes spelled Vygotskij) used the notion in his explanation of the cultural nature of human consciousness and development. In his view, the development of individual human beings is predominantly promoted through interactions with other members of the cultural community. The concept was meant to clarify two aspects of human development: how the process of ‘enculturation’ can take place and turn individuals into members of their cultural community (especially newcomers) and how educators can deliberately ‘promote’ personal development.

Over the years, the notion of the ZPD has become one of the most famous concepts of Vygotsky’s developmental theory, widely used and abused in research and practice. ...

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