Vygotsky’s Legacy

Vygotsky’s Legacy


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Most educators are familiar with Lev Vygotsky’s concept of the “zone of proximal development,” yet the bulk of Vygotsky’s pioneering theory of cognitive development largely remains unknown. This unique volume provides a systematic, authoritative overview of Vygotsky’s work and its implications for educational research and practice. Major topics include how children develop higher-order thinking; the influences on cognitive development of teacher-student interactions, the family, and culture; and critical and stable periods in development from infancy through adolescence. Key concepts and research methods are explained in detail, and classroom examples and instructional suggestions are provided.

“Well organized, meticulously researched, and well written. I have no doubt that this book will make a significant contribution to the field of education. Gredler and Shields have done an exceptionally good job of capturing the essence of Vygotsky’s work and the profound influence it has had in the field of education, both theoretically and practically. This text can be used in a variety of courses that have the goal of understanding Vygotsky’s role in education and how his theories continue to reverberate in classrooms around the world, despite the fact that educational trends come and go.”–Hiller A. Spires, PhD, Friday Institute Senior Research Fellow and Department of Curriculum and Instruction, North Carolina State University

“Gredler and Shields provide an engaging, clear exposition of Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory. The opening chapter sets the stage with relevant background information, including the sociohistorical context of the field of psychology during Vygotsky’s career. The book is well organized and includes brief chapter overviews, connections to previous chapters, and section summaries, as well as pertinent examples and valuable applications of theoretical principles. Providing clear explanations of the major theoretical constructs of Vygotsky’s work, this book is appropriate for advanced undergraduate- and graduate-level courses in education, psychology, learning theory, or development.”–Marlynn M. Griffin, PhD, Department of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading, Georgia Southern University

“‘People develop in interaction with others.’ Too often, this assertion is treated as a summary of the theory of Lev Vygotsky. But, according to Vygotsky, development also occurs in interaction with the larger society, its tools, and its history. Vygotsky’s theory is not known for its transparency, but Gredler and Shields have captured the essence of the theory, making it accessible to a much broader audience of students of psychology and education. This book clarifies Vygotsky’s thinking while staying true to its complexity and depth.”–Diane E. Beals, EdD, School of Education, University of Tulsa

“This is an excellent book. Gredler and Shields provide a painstaking analysis of Vygotsky’s theory and research. The authors give many examples and spell out the implications of Vygotsky’s thinking for education, which makes the book particularly useful for students of psychology and education. I was impressed by the authors’ extensive knowledge of Vygotsky’s writings and their historical context. Anyone interested in Vygotsky’s ideas can profit from this well-researched book. The authors’ focus on cognitive development and its dependence on thoughtful education is particularly exciting for those who worry about the quality of our schools.”–René van der Veer, PhD, Department of Education, Leiden University, The Netherlands

Margaret E. Gredler, PhD, is Professor of Educational Psychology and Research at the University of South Carolina. Dr. Gredler’s articles and presented papers address applications of learning theory and self-directed learning. Learning and Instruction: Theory into Practice, her book on learning theories and related instructional strategies, is in its fifth edition.


Carolyn Claytor Shields, PhD, is Associate Professor in the Richard W. Riley College of Education at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, South Carolina. Dr. Shields teaches courses at the undergraduate and graduate levels in educational psychology, human growth and development, and research. Her research interests include learning theories and their educational applications and methods for developing conceptual thinking.

Researchers and students in educational psychology, education, and cognitive psychology; teacher educators. May serve as a supplemental text in such courses as Principles of Educational Psychology, Cognition and Learning, and Learning Theories.

1. Introduction

I. General Principles2. Research Methods

3. Cultural Signs and Symbols

4. Development of the Higher Psychological Functions

II. Major Cultural Signs5. Speech and Cognitive Development

6. Development of Thinking in Concepts

III. The Cycle of Development 7. Structure and Dynamics of Age-Related Development

8. Development of World View and Personality

IV. Some Implications of Vygotsky’s Theory9. A New Way of Thinking


Appendix A. The Cross-Cultural Study

Appendix B. Shif’s Research

“An authoritative yet accessible text, designed to give researchers, students, and teacher educators an overview of Vygotsky’s theory of cognitive development. It takes the reader far beyond the familiar ‘zone of proximal development’, exploring Vygotsky’s views on research methods, cultural signs and symbols, and the development of the higher psychological functions.”

Additional information

Weight 1 oz
Dimensions 1 × 6 × 9 cm