Discuss Vygotsky's belief that language is the most significant of the cultural tools. Discuss how the clock as a tool may influence cognitive development from the perspective of the sociocultural theories. What are the ramifications of the clock on student learning? Is the clock an example of the "ratchet effect"?
Vygotsky was a Russian psychologist who developed the Cultural-Historical theory and believed that the items within our surroundings affected cognitive development and that the tools we learned with were an extension of our mind. This means that he believed that in order to learn and develop language skills we need to interact with our environment not just memorize and parrot sets of facts. When we use our mental tools we are creating an extension of the physical tools our body uses in order to master our environment.
When looking at language development this is directly related to culture (e.g. language, dialect, verbal expectations) and a child’s social environment (home, school, parents and peers) will shape how language is developed and mastered as a tool. Learning and language development do not occur within a vacuum but instead as an interactive experience. It also cannot be “timed” as it is a fluid occurrence building upon past experiences. Unlike other theories that placed time frames on development Vygotsky did not think that there was a time table for cognitive and verbal cultural development. As everyone’s time frame for developing the language skills within their cultural environment is different the ratcheting effect can occur for those who need longer than their peers. When we state the ratching effect we mean that if student A knows the answer they will take a short cut when showing the path to student B which means that they may miss important steps within the learning process.