Lev Vygotsky believed that the way of life as a child is raised by influences in the operations of the child development. Every child learns actively and through hands – on experiences. A child development is a social constructivism and the development is determined by culture. Children are active learners and their knowledge is constructed socially. Its cultural values and customs dictate the importance of learning; children learn from expert members of the society who are responsible of higher order functions such as parents, peers, caregivers, and the culture at large and the zone of proximal development in learning occurs.
It implies that children often learn their best when they are given tasks beyond their ability to perform alone. However, children can perform well when assisted by anybody with advance ideas cognitively. This belief is very influential especially in the field of education. Through education, the results are distinguished to the higher mental development process in children (Fernyhough, 2007). His belief has made instructions essential to the development of the child’s mental process. The socio-historical view of cognitive development as brought by Vygotsky emphasizes that the behavior of children begins in the social and historical context; mental process is easily understood if the tools are visible to mediate them. Mediation is the used tools in the mental process; the concepts of internalization and zone of proximal development as proposed by Vygotsky described the process of mediation (Kenrose, 2009). The well – known concept of zone of proximal development meant to focus its attention on the relation between the instruction and the development relevant to solve problems related to children. The culture affects the higher functions that are developed and acquired; a child possesses the basic mental tools of the culture to acquire a higher functions. Language is one of the most significant tools to organize thoughts as Vygotsky showed from his research (Dixon - Krauss, 1992). Vygotsky believed that the most essential period in the path of intellectual development that provides birth to the solely human varieties of sensible and intangible intelligence, happens during speech and practical activity. The development stems from relationship and social activity that culture is conveyed to the child both an organized and unorganized activity. When ideas and language are combined as one, the person has the ability to analyze every detail of the word and use it to form new meaning and organize thoughts. Through the tools provided by language that meaning is assigned on how the perception of the child infused with the relevance in culture. Teachers utilized Vygotsky’s approach; it helps the children acquire the mental tools and generalized learning to various conditions. Humans utilized tools that are developed from a culture such as speech and writing to mediate their social environment. Originally, children developed these tools to serve exclusively as social functions and means to communicate needs. The role of semiotic mediation is the acquisition of language of a child that transformed his social interaction (Vygotsky, 1987). Infants begin to engage in linguistic dialogues as one of the consequences of language acquisition.
Semiotic is an activity relating on sign and its meaning; it utilizes and investigates some signs of activity and the existing relationship. Semiotic mediators are psychological tools being pre – programmed; language as one of its symbols is a psychological tool that mediates a person on his psychological process (Fernyhough, 2007). The material tool mediates between the person and nature, respectively. In fact, languages is constructed and initiated to children in their way of life until they reach the peak of self – awareness and self – control (Dixon - Krauss, 1992). These self – awareness and self – control help monitor actions applied in the process. The mediation is the ability of intra – mental development through inter – mental interaction. The visible truth is enough to justify the demonstration of the fundamental characteristic of the behavior of its higher form (Vygotsky, 1981).
The dynamics of the mediation form a general framework that is designed to direct teachers to solve relevant problems. The guide is provided to carry on different task analyses that enumerate various steps necessary. The mediation form is a dynamic working model, both directed and evolved by the social interaction occurred during the learning activities (Dixon - Krauss, 1992). In the process, teachers created and utilized actions significant to knowledge that are modified to its learning contexts. Mediation absolutely directs the teachers on their analyses and decision-makings of instructions. In addition, mediation is utilized to personalize newly developed strategies and materials, to restructure teaching methodology through classroom researches. Teachers mediate the learning of the students through social interaction and simple delivery of ideas (Vygotsky, 1981). Generally, advocates of student-centered pedagogy progressed from the constructivist position that maintained the learners to construct their understandings by their experiences and actions. Student-centered thinking generated a growing interest in the use of a variety of different active learning techniques inside and outside the classroom. Teacher mediation is extensively applied on demonstrations to perform different tasks and interactions toward the students are a continuous analyzes on how their students think eagerly. In addition, teachers are anticipating the strategy outcomes and after the process, teachers are expected to determine the quantity and the type of support they provided. The objectives of instructional mediation are necessary to assist the learners to develop their self – directed mediation. The decision – making process of the teachers progressed through the significant components of the mediation such as purposes, strategies, and reflections.
Its purpose is dependent on the analyses of different characteristics that readers have brought to the activities. The teachers decide what are the needs of the students to perform well and comprehend more in accordance of the readers’ analyzes. The selection of their strategies is based on the text – reader analysis; large selection of reading strategies are available that classifies areas to suit their purposes strategically. The moment a strategy is chosen, teachers direct the students in a flexible application for any adjustment necessary in learning. In reflection, it is focused on the student comprehension and knowledge on the discussion provided in the class. As the students reflect in the utilization of the strategies provided, it assists on their self – awareness and proper deliberation of thoughts. In addition, teachers determined the compatibility between its purposes, strategies, and the derived meaning by the students.
Therefore, semiotic mediation builds great capacities for a thorough understanding that allows both teachers and learners interact sufficiently. Its focal point is the perspective on real applications, the emergence of language, and the children participation that progressed from the social interaction to the internalized inner development levels of private language. As an outcome, children have developed their mental states to learn more the accurate usage of higher mental process with opportunities of ultimate methods that explains on their behavioral reactions of the mediation tools applied. It is beneficial to adopt approaches presented by Vygotsky being dependent on social experiences, examine social – cognitive developments, utilize the proposed mediation forms, to enhance social interactions through mediated tools, and incorporate individual difference in social experiences and the typical developments. In accordance to Vygotsky’s ideas regarding the significance of semiotic mediation, the respective forms constitute to the theories that involves inter –functional relations among the various cognitive domains. In addition, it is necessary to be more sensitive in knowledge or ways to extend the important aspects of the theories presented by Vygotsky. By consideration, internalizing the different forms of mediation can form a cultural learning for persons to consummate its perspectives. As learning is culturally mediated, the teacher needs to get in contact with the children’s thoughts, motives them, and feelings to facilitate the learning. Teachers have their educational objectives to meet and they need to know every level of the actual development of the children to help them with their needs or deficiencies. However, teachers need to leave room also for the children in a personal aspirations and content, to help children to become the agents of their work and experiences. Eventually, teachers and children work together harmoniously, producing new cultural content and ways to interact with others accordingly. The main objective of the mediation tools is that the children’s conceptions either in pre – theoretical and theoretical manners are influenced through the kinds of interactions they probably enjoy.
Dixon – Krauss, L.A. (1992). Whole language: Bridging the gap from spontaneous to scientific
concepts, Journal of Reading Education, 18, 13-17.
Fernyhough, C. (2007). Getting Vygotskian about theory of mind: Mediation, dialogue, and the
development of social understanding, Retrieved from http://www.charlesfernyhough.com/papers/FernyhoughDevRev08.pdf
Kenrose, S. (2009). Yahoo Contributor Network: Lev Vygotsky and the Zone of Proximal
Development (ZPD), Retrieved from http://voices.yahoo.com/lev-vygotsky-zone-proximal-development-3879832.html
Vygotsky, L. S. (1987). Thinking and Speech: The collected works of L. S. Vygotsky. Vol. 1,
New York: Plenum, Original work published 1934.
Vygotsky, L.S. (1981). The genesis of higher mental functions. In J.V. Wertsch (Ed.), The
concept of activity in Soviet psychology, p. 144-188. Armonk, NY: Sharpe.