This section tests your knowledge on how students learn. You should understand the different educational theories, related theorists, and stages of human development.
Let’s talk about a concept that you will more than likely see on the test.
Vygotsky and the Zone of Proximal Development
Soviet psychologist and social constructivist Lev Vygotsky (1896 – 1934) proposed the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD). The ZPD refers to the difference between what a learner can do without help and what he or she can achieve with guidance. An educator may provide scaffolding, meaning activities to lead a student through the ZPD. These activities/ supports will be withdrawn as the student demonstrates competency.
So, what might this look like in a secondary math classroom?
Students may be asked to calculate the area of a printed rectangle. Some students may know how to do this; some may not. The teacher may provide “tip sheets” with some prompts to get students started. Only those who need the tip sheets will use them.
Another example would be a lesson over mean. Students may understand how to calculate the mean of five numbers; however, a higher level application would be to start with a given mean and determine the five numbers. The teacher might ask, “What five numbers have a mean of 6?” If a student is having difficulty, the teacher might decide to provide the lowest and highest numbers or show how to organize the problem on paper.