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Understanding Vygotsky's Learning Theory: Role of Culture, Environment, and Social Interaction

Main Ideas

Write a Brief Concluding Paragraph At The End Of Your Paper?

Use Four Or Five Resources Including The Two Course Textbneks Fight And Lc To Two Additional Credible Sources From The Library/Databases Only). Be Sure To Have In-Text Citations.

Private Speech: According to the theoretical concept, Vygotsky believed that a child’s engagement in speech and vocal development are initially engaged in aloud verbally, with a gradual progression towards speech internalization (Mooney, 2013). For example: It is common to find a five year old child talking to herself when playing. However, as he progresses towards six or seven years of age, vocal processes which were once spoken aloud now become internalized. Such form of private or internalization of speech, as theorized by Vygotsky, enhances a child’s learning via inculcating skills of self-regulation and planning (Rathus & Rinaldi, 2015).

Zone of proximal Development: This theory was used by Vygotsky to denote the distance between a highly difficult activity which the child can perform alone and the child’s learning of this activity difficult when provided help. According to this theoretical perspective, Vygotsky postulated that a child’s ability to learn, is largely associated with the nature of interaction he or she engages with a peer or teacher (Mooney, 2013). For example: a child who is given a difficult arithmetic sum is to learn the calculations with ease when guided by a teacher as compared to when the child does the same alone.

Role of Culture and Environment on Learning: According to this theoretical perspective, Vygotsky postulated that a child’s learning is largely associated not just with the nature of his or her interactions with adults (the zone of proximal development), but also the prevalent cultural practices in the environment surrounding the child (Rathus & Rinaldi, 2015). For example: the present day learning of a child is largely influenced by interactions with teachers along with the cultural perspectives he or she is exposed to at home. This means that a child whose parents rely extensively on technology may encounter a learning which is different than a child whose family or parents live in a rural area devoid of technology.

The given statement largely demonstrates the value of independence and culture in learning which have explored by Vygotsky and Piaget in different ways. For example, as per the ages and stages of development, an infant during the first few years of life demonstrates motor skills based on the surrounding environment. As per Piaget, such learning is largely acquired or learned independently by child irrespective of adult imitation unless the child is matured enough to comprehend the same. Vygotsky however believed that child ‘bumping into the wall of own inadequacy’ may have little impact on learning and it would be yield little benefit to assume that such a young child can be taught to learn something independently without being assisted. Thus, while Piaget’s theory demonstrated independent learning by children, Vygotsky’s theory postulate that the ages and stages of development may be largely culture and socially oriented (Berk & Winsler, 1995). 

Piaget and Vygotsky

One of key influences of Vygotsky’s theory which is observed in the Flight Framework for early childhood is the theoretical aspect of ‘Role and Culture and Environment on Learning’. One of the key values for early childhood communities mentioned in the flight framework is the importance of ‘intercultural competence and communication’ which enlightens the need for the learning environment to respect and empathize with the diverse cultural backgrounds of children (Makovichuk et al., 2014). Indeed, as evidenced by Vygotsky’s theory, learning in children is largely associated with the cultural environment and cultural values of family generations he or she is surrounded with (Rathus & Rinaldi, 2015).

One of the key purposes mentioned in the Flight Framework is the need to collaborate with families and encourage their involvement in children’s learning and early education environment (Makovichuk et al., 2014). This can be related well with Vygotsky’s perceptions on zone of proximal development. As per this aspect of Vygotsky’s theory, a child’s learning is largely facilitated when he or she is assisted by a parent, a friend or a teacher as compared to engaging alone in the learning environment (Mooney, 2013).

I largely agree well with the theory of social learning postulated by Vygotsky. This is because of a number of personal experiences I had encountered as a child which in turn, can be related well with this theory. I remember how initially I used to play act with my toys and cars loudly as a four year old. Gradually not only did I overcome this habit, the change also prompted to write down my thoughts in my personal diary back then – a habit, which I still follow till date when I am brainstorming ideas. Indeed, this experience can be related well with the Vygotsky’s perception of private speech and how speech internalization largely facilitates a child’s self-learning and thinking skills (Mooney, 2013).


Thus, this paper successfully discusses on the key aspects of Vygotsky’s life and his core theoretical components of learning. To conclude, understanding Vygotsky’s learning theory largely assists in understanding the role of culture and social environment in influencing a child’s learning.


Berk, L. E., & Winsler, A. (1995). Scaffolding Children's Learning: Vygotsky and Early Childhood Education. NAEYC Research into Practice Series. Volume 7. National Association for the Education of Young Children, 1509 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036-1426 (NAEYC catalog# 146).

Makovichuk, L., Hewes, J., Lirette, P., & Thomas, N. (2014). Flight: Alberta’s early learning and care framework. Retrieved from 

Mooney, C. G. (2013). Theories of Childhood: An Introduction to Dewey, Montessori, Erikson, Piaget & Vygotsky. Redleaf Press.

Rathus, S.A. & Rinaldi, C.M. (2015). Voyages in Development. Nelson Education.

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