This paper will address the development of children through the sociocultural theories. The paper will mainly focus on FCL (Fostering Communities of Learning) and Vygotsky’s theory of a child’s development.
FCL is Program of learning in which students prepare their own curriculum of learning. The students are allowed to research, study, and share the materials they have developed with other people. This is to make sure they develop a good curriculum and encourages reciprocal teaching. However, the students in FCL are required to have a teacher or guide. The work of the guide is to improve the student’s curriculum into an acceptable examination (Siegler & Alibali, 2005).
FCL utilizes the sociocultural theories. In Vygotsky’s theory, ZPD (zone of proximal development) is the number of task a child can complete. ZPD is divided into two; upper and lower limit. The lower limit is task that can be completed by the child without help. The upper limit is when the child is helped by a capable guide to achieve a certain potential. FCL supports this idea by allowing the students to develop their own curriculum and also be guided by an adult.
The Piaget’s theory does not support FCL as there is no adult help according to the theory. An illustration of FCL is when students develop a biology program. The students will need some laboratory experiments to help understand the subject better. The guide or teacher will help the student in analyzing and performing the experiments. This creates a good interaction between them and the teacher (Siegler & Alibali, 2005).
Vygotsky’s belief that language is the most significant of the cultural tools is true. Language is the most important aspect in the development of a child. Adults are able to pass instructions to a child through language. The child also develops intellectual adaptation which is a very powerful tool. The theory argues that children develop inner speech through external speech. The inner speech is important as the child stops to “think out loud” (Siegler & Alibali, 2005).
The inner speech is used by the child to develop and solve many matters. The child stops to have “self talks” which are common when they are alone. Language develops in two major ways; social communication and inner speech. Vygotsky also argued that language only mediates thinking. However, external speech is very different from internal speech. Thoughts are turned into word in external speech and the vice versa occurs in internal speech. A word in internal speech can have a great meaning to the individual. The individual may need many words to express the same word (from internal speech) in external speech (Siegler & Alibali, 2005).
This argument shows that language is an important tool and challenges Piaget’s theory. In Piaget’s theory, they is no focus on language yet children are supposed to think more deeply (Siegler & Alibali, 2005). This generates some questions, how are they able to weigh matters? Is the principal of trial and error possible without language?
The use of calendars is a great technique in cognitive development. They help a child in knowing how to count and make predictions. The children are thought how to count and with time they are able to predict which dates follow each other. The guide may also use songs about weeks, months, or seasons to help the child understand. This helps the development of language mainly. The use of different colors or shape to make a sequence in calendars is also great. The child may be able to tell what color or shape comes after a certain date (Siegler & Alibali, 2005).
Calendars do not cause ratchet effect on children. The children are able to develop many abilities through this exercise. The child learns how to count, sing, spell, and predict. This is important as it develops their language and thinking capability.
Siegler, R. & Alibali, M. (2005). Children’s thinking (4th Ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall