Vygotsky’s Zone of Proximal Development

The Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) is a method used to help students push themselves without being over-challenged to the point of frustration and quitting. Vygotsky cited a student’s “actual developmental level” and their “potential level” and came up with the ZPD to bridge between the two with a little outside assistance. The ZPD increases as the student gains more knowledge and scaffolding must be used accordingly.

Students will have some of the tools to learn but require scaffolding to get to the next step with the assistance of peers or an educator.

Scaffolding is when a teacher or peer helps a student master a step that they previously would not have been able to do by themselves. The key to scaffolding is helping the student with only the tasks which they cannot do by themselves, and allowing them to do anything they know how to on their own.