The most important application of Vygotsky's theory to education is in hisconcept of a zone of proximal development. This concept is important becauseteachers can use it as a guide to a child's development. It allows a teacher toknow what a student is able to achieve through the use of a mediator and thusenables the teacher to help the child attain that level by themselves.
A second important aspect of Vygotsky's theory is the role of play in histheory. According to this perspective teachers need to provide children,especially young children, many opportunities to play. Through play, andimagination a child's conceptual abilities are stretched. Vygotsky argued thatplay leads to development. "While imitating their elders in culturallypatterned activities, children generate opportunities for intellectualdevelopment. Initially, their games are recollections and reenactments of realsituations; but through the dynamics of their imagination and recognition ofimplicit rules governing the activities they have reproduced in their games,children achieve an elementary mastery of abstract thought." (Cole, 1978).
Since language holds a central role in Vygotsky's theory, and is essential tothe development of thinking, the school needs to provide many opportunities thatallow children to reach the third stage of speech, which is inner speech, sinceit is this stage which is responsible for all higher levels of functioning.
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