Soviet psychologist and social constructivist Lev Vygotsky developed the concept zone of proximal development. The zone of proximal development refers to the difference between what a learner already knows or can do without help and what he or she can achieve with guidance and encouragement from a skilled partner. The term “proximal”, therefore, refers to those skills that the learner is “close” to mastering. The best school in Panchkula, Hallmark Public School, believes that when a student is in the zone of proximal development for a particular task, providing the appropriate assistance gives the student enough “boost” to achieve the mastery or skillset.
To assist a student in moving through the zone of proximal development, educators and teachers are encouraged to focus on three major components which aid the learning process:
- The presence of a more knowledgeable person to that of a learner.
- Social interactions with a skillful person that allows the learner to observe and practice those skills.
- Supportive activities provided by the educator or a more knowledgeable person to support the student-led through the ZPD.
In simple words, education should provide children with experiences that are in their ZPD, thereby encouraging and advancing their learning. The effective way of developing skills and strategies is through interaction with peers. Thus, teachers should make use of cooperative learning exercises in which less competent children improve with the help of more skillful peers – within the zone of proximal development.
The more knowledgeable person needs to remember scaffolding as a key feature of effective teaching, i.e., continuously adjusting the level of his or her help in response to the learner’s level of performance in the zone of proximal development. It not only produces immediate results but also instills the skills necessary for independent problem-solving in the future.
The top school in Panchkula, Hallmark Public School, ensures that the students get the appropriate support at the right moment and embrace the zone of proximal development through effective teaching and learning strategies.