While both Piaget and Vygotsky were similar in their views in certain ways. Most commonly shared were their views as constructivists (the idea of learning by doing) and believed that social forces set the limits of development. The most obvious difference is their view of cognitive development. Where Piaget felt that cognition develops in four discreet stages that are limited, Vygotsky believed the opposite, that there are no stages and development is continuous.
Where there are a few areas that I relate with the theoretical views of John Piaget, I tend to relate more so with those of Vygotsky. Both were strong advocates for students having active participation in their learning. Like Vygotsky, I feel that learning and development are intertwined and in some cases learning can precede development. Vygotsky compared a learner’s actual development to their potential development; this potential area is called the “zone of proximal development”.
When working with the children it is in this area that I observe any potential problem areas where a child might need help as well as recognize where I can push a child a little further in order to get them to reach their maximum potential. As far as instructional strategies, I tend to rely heavily on a Montessori style environment; where discovery, project based learning, and curiosity inducing strategies expands a child’s intellect. As a child care provider I often try to engage my pupil with activities and materials that challenge them. Most toys and instructional material I present to the children are usually slightly above their ages. Where Vygotsky felt that culture plays a large role in development, I too agree that development is improved when social interaction is guided by highly skilled people in the same culture.