Adult education thesis

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Adult education thesis

The role of language in education The role of language in education "Miss Kelly said that when you talk to somebody it's like you're playing ball. First the somebody asks you a question, and that means they throw the ball to you.

But you have to do more than just catch a question like you catch a ball. Here's the important part.

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You have to throw the ball back. When somebody asks how you are, you can't just say, 'Fine. So I threw it back, and by mistake the ball hit Miss Boland.

In Vygotsky's view, speech is an extension of intelligence and thought, a way to interact with one's environment beyond physical limitations: This higher level of development enables children to transcend the immediate, to test abstract actions before they are employed.

This permits them to consider the consequences of actions before performing them. But most of all, language serves as a means of social interaction between people, allowing "the basis of a new and superior form of activity in children, distinguishing them from animals" Vygotsky,p.

Adult education thesis

The ability to use language to help solve problems is a tool. Rather than trying to understand the world alone, a child can enlist the help of older children, adults, or other authorities. As a result, Vygotsky believed that a child's potential should be measured not merely in terms of what a child already understands, but should include the child's capacity to profit from what others can help the child to understand Spencer, ; Vygotsky, This difference between what one can do and one's potential to engage the help of others and profit from it Vygotsky called the zone of proximal development, "the distance between the actual developmental level as determined by independent problem solving and the level of potential development as determined through problem solving under adult guidance or in collaboration with more capable peers" Vygotsky,p.

The more children take advantage of an authority's support, the wider is their zone of proximal development and, ultimately, their own capacity. For example, I have never studied Japanese.

If I were tested on the subject today, I would do very poorly. One might infer, based on those results, that my Japanese ability was very poor. However, if I were to enrol in a Japanese course -- enlist the help of others to make me a better Japanese speaker -- another test might indicate that I am rather good at the language.

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My ability to learn Japanese is the same as it ever was. What is different is the inclusion of my zone of proximal development -- my use of the knowledge of others to change my understanding.

On the other hand, even with the help of others, I might still be unable to grasp the language. If this were the case, my zone of proximal development at least for Japanese would be small; my ability to use an authority's support to learn Japanese would be near zero.

Vygotsky "viewed intelligence as the capacity to benefit from instruction, with language having a powerful developmental role" Spencer,p. In this sense, language is a tool for learning and an aid to understanding.

Writes Vygotsky"human learning presupposes a specific social nature and a process by which children grow into the intellectual life of those around them" p.

As such, language acts as a vehicle for educational development and is important for the apprehension and acquisition of knowledge. Vygotsky maintained that the zone of proximal development is an "essential feature of learning" p.

In this sense, the authority or teacher in all learning situations acts as a collaborator and coach, in which he or she "provides scaffolding to lead the student to increased understanding" Hawisher,p.

In the educational context, language is important for comprehension and making use of knowledge. Shale describes the role of the teacher in the "ideal educational process" p.

First, the teacher and the student determine and validate what the student knows. Second, on the basis of what is determined, the teacher may provide additional declarative knowledge.


Third, the teacher and the student negotiate the meaning of what is taught. Fourth, through repetitions of steps two and three, both the teacher and the student advance in their knowledge, and the student's knowledge is validated by the teacher.

The zone of proximal development is observed during this third step of the schooling process, in which teachers help "others to gain consciousness and reach higher ground intellectually, transforming the meaning of the lower order concepts" Spencer,p.

In this step there is "room for the negotiation of meaning and the prospect of mutual learning through dialogue and discussion" Rowntree,p.

In an ideal form of education, the teacher and student engage in what King and Brownell refer to as "The Great Conversation. This often precludes the formation of an interactive learning environment in which learning is an ongoing process shared between the teacher and students.Mission Statement.

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Adult education thesis
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