Vygotsky, social environment and development

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The 1917 Revolution created a breakthough in materialist theory of learning, writes Shirley Franklin

Vygotsky lived in Russia between 1896 and 1934. He was driven by his commitment to promote the development of children and adults and to create the best possible educational opportunities for the population of revolutionary Russia. All aspects of his approach to psychology and theory of children’s development — play, thinking, learning, language, the zone of proximal development, working with people with learning difficulties, mental health issues and more — are rooted in a social and materialist theory of learning.

Intelligence and the human spirit

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Fraudulent IQ tests, rote learning and unimaginative teaching shape modern education but, argues John Parrington, playtime, culture and imagination are the true foundations of creativity.

The ability to think rationally is an essential feature of being human, but it is hard to imagine how our species could have gone from living in caves to sending rovers to Mars in the space of 40,000 years without another crucial element — our creative impulse. Both Einstein and Picasso believed that their respective genius in science and art was based upon an ability to view the world as would a child. But clearly there is a difference between an adult with a childlike ability to think outside the box, and actually being a child.

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