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THE EFFECTS OF RECIPROCAL TEACHING ON ENGLISH READING - page 41 / 233

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The zone of proximal development refers to a learner’s potential ability to learn

with help from an expert or a more capable partner. It is Vygotsky (1978) who pointed

out that all learners have two levels of thinking development: an actual development level

and a potential development level. The actual development refers to the thinking level at

which children are able to solve problems by themselves, and the potential development

refers to the thinking level at which learners need help from an expert or a more capable

partner. The zone of proximal development (ZPD) is the distance between the actual

development and the potential development (see Figure 2.1 below). Learners can push

themselves from the actual development level to the potential level or learn beyond their

actual development level with explicit scaffolding through social interaction until they

internalize the strategies (Rosenshine & Meister, 1994).

Potential Development

Zone of Proximal

Social

Development

Interaction

Figure 1 Vygotsky’s Model of Zone of Proximal Development

Experts or More Capable Peers

Through Scaffolding and Proleptic Teaching

Actual Development

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