Viva Vygotsky's principles

13th August 2004 at 01:00
How refreshing to see a page devoted to the most significant psychologist and philosopher of the last century - Lev Vygotsky (TES, July 30).

He is written off by so many educationists as being out of date but his work and ideas are refreshingly modern. He was part of the psychology movement in post-Tsarist Russia, attempting to develop a method of teaching and theory of psychology that was holistic and Marxist.

He established three basic principles, based on the premise that all learning and all knowledge are social, relating to the activity of the learner, hisher sociocultural and historical context and development.

He said that "where a teacher is setting forth ready-prepared bits and pieces of knowledge, there he has ceased being a teacher". But he did not propose activity-based learning without explicit modelling and interactive teaching. He explicitly stated that testing pupils is useless as it only measures what they do today, not what they are capable of in the future.

Is this the reason for his decline in popularity? Viva Vygotsky!

Shirley Franklin St Martin's college English Street, London E3

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