Sunday, September 27, 2009

lev vygotsky

An interesting article in the Times today about teaching children self-control. The Soviet (not Russian as the Times says) psychologist Lev Vysgotsky has exerted quite a lot of control over Soviet/Russian educational practices. he's also strangely influential in Russian-based cultural studies, especially his writings on inner speech and its connection to oral language...

Which is why Abigail, Henry and Jocelyn are potentially so important. They and their classmates are enrolled in Tools of the Mind, a relatively new program dedicated to improving the self-regulation abilities of young children, starting as early as age 3. Tools of the Mind is based on the teachings of Lev Vygotsky, a Russian psychologist who died of tuberculosis in 1934, at age 38, and whose educational theories and methods were, until recently, little known in the United States. Over the past 15 years, Deborah Leong and Elena Bodrova, scholars of child development based in Denver, have turned Vygotsky's philosophy into a full-time curriculum for prekindergarten and kindergarten students, complete with training manuals and coaches and professional-development classes for teachers. Tools of the Mind has grown steadily — though its expansion has sped up in the past few years — and it now is being used to teach 18,000 prekindergarten and kindergarten students in 12 states around the country.

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