6 Education Theorists All Teachers Should Know

6 Education Theorists All Teachers Should Know Infographic
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Lev Vygotsky

According to Vygotsky (1978) the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) relates to the difference between what a child can achieve independently and what a child can achieve with guidance and encouragement from a skilled partner. For example, a child can not solve the jigsaw puzzle by himself but if he receives support from a teacher or a parent, he will be able to solve it. This will help him to develop competence at this skill that will be applied to future jigsaws.

Scaffolding is not a term that Vygotsky actually used but it is a concept that developed based on his work. It means that a teacher or a more advanced peer helps a student to complete a task that he can’t do on his own. The scaffolding has to be gradually reduced and eventually be removed since the student can complete the task on their own.

Read also: Vygotsky’s Sociocultural Learning Theory

Jean Piaget

According to Piaget (1936), children are born with a very basic mental structure (genetically inherited and evolved) on which all subsequent learning and knowledge is based. Piaget worked with the idea that the things people know are organized into schemas. (think of schemas as “units” of knowledge, each relating to one aspect of the world).  When a child learns something new, they either assimilate it into an existing schema, change their schema, or develop a new schema. When we activate background knowledge before introducing a new knowledge we are helping students draw upon their existing schema.

Read also: Piaget’s Τheory of Cognitive Development

B.F. Skinner

According to Skinner (1993), behaviour is influenced by what happens before (antecedents) and immediately after it (consequences). So, behaviorism it’s the idea that praise and rewards positively reinforce a behavior and encourage kids to continue with it. Skinner believed that punishments are counterproductive and that humans act in a way to avoid punishment and gain reward.  If you praise your students for doing something right, display a good work etc, you are using behaviourism to guide students towards the behaviors and actions of successful adults.

Read also: Skinner’s Programmed Instruction Educational Model

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