Sociocultural Theorists focus more solely on the influence of our surroundings on our cognitive development- the nurture aspect. They examine cultural and other environmental factors that influence our thinking as the key for understanding its development. They particularly stress that the best strategy for helping children's cognitive development is guided participation. Sociocultural theorists base themselves on Lev Semyonovich Vygotsky's theory, which viewed children as gregarious beings surrounded by people readily willing to help them further their cognitive development and gain the knowledge and skills that are necessary for their success- a trait sociocultural theorists see as unique to humans. Although the content that is shared varies from culture to culture (resulting in some differences in the cognitive levels of development one finds children in from one culture to the next), within each culture group guided participation is present in some form. The beauty of this concept is that children develop higher levels of social understanding and common knowledge through the intersubjectivity and joint attention they experience during guided participation. One is able to observe children as they begin to use this type of social referencing.

Sociocultural theorists paint cognitive development as a continuous and qualitative process in which adults are responsible for arming children with social scaffolding. To sociocultural theorists, this social scaffolding sets children at an advantage to succeed. They prove the use of this scaffolding on children's development through their explanation of the zone of proximal development, which illustrates that children supported by the scaffolding perform much higher than they would without this. Click on the file below to see this concept illustrated.








*All information on this page was derived from source number 2 found on reference page.*


For more information on Vygotsky and sociocultural theory consider these sites:

http://fds.oup.com/www.oup.com/pdf/elt/catalogue/0-19-442160-0-a.pdf

http://www.muskingum.edu/~psych/psycweb/history/vygotsky.htm