The gifted pioneer psychologists

Lev Semenovich Vygotsky is one of the gifted pioneer psychologists who introduced the concept of connection between the culture and the speech acquisition of people in that particular culture. In his book Mind in Society: The Development of Higher Psychological Processes, Vygotsky explained his theory that “social learning precedes development” (Social Development Theory, 2010). This idea earned him commendation from well-known contemporaries such as Stephen Toulmin, who called him “The Mozart of Psychology”. From this point onwards, the name Vygotsky was already considered as one of the most brilliant minds in the field of social psychology.

Readers have to note that this theory goes against Jean Piaget’s earlier concept about learning processes of children. While Piaget believed that self-directed behavior “only contributed minimal relevance to children’s cognitive growth” (Kristinsdottir, 2008), Vygotsky had a different explanation for this. He called this private speech in the Vygotskynian jargon. It has been explained in full detail that private or inner speech emanates from the knowledge that is learned from social interaction. It is the way by which the individual remembers what he learned from the various sources of knowledge in his environment.

Therefore, it is very important in internalizing what the person learned. The process of internalization will be further explained in the succeeding pages. Vygotsky’s Social Development Theory The Social Development Theory is an indication of the growing interest to find connections between culture and learning. Psychologists and learning experts previously believed in the omniscience of individuals—that they are able to learn even before social interaction takes place. This previous belief supposes that individuals know how to communicate intrapersonally even before socialization takes place.

On the other hand, Vygotsky’s Social Development Theory is a learning theory which asserts the importance of sociocultural learning in the formation of the child’s thinking process. Vygotskynians believe that socialization must first take place in order to build the knowledge base of the person. After this, that is the only time that the individual can communicate and interpret the data through internalization. To explain it further: Culture makes two sorts of contributions to the child’s intellectual development. First, children acquire much of their thinking (knowledge) from it.

Second, children acquire the processes or means of their thinking (tools of intellectual adaptation) from the surrounding culture. Therefore, culture provides the children with the means to, what to think and how to think. (Kristinsdottir, 2008) From this excerpt, we are already briefed into the concept of interpsychology and intrapsychology learning. It is a fairly easy concept to understand but we will benefit from the use of examples to further understand this concept. Let’s use a practical example to illustrate this theory into a more tangible form.

When babies are born into the world, they are in a state of tabula rasa or blank state. They will not be able to react in an intelligible way (or in a way that adults will understand) because there is no socialization that is happening yet. But once the midwife slaps the butt of the baby to induce crying, it is already the start of socialization—that is, teaching the baby that the response to being slapped is crying. There is a clear and expected outcome from slapping and this becomes a form of knowledge formation for the baby.

Thus, the physiological response is “learned” and it enables the baby to demand his needs. And even before the baby knew the name for the physiological response which is known as “crying”, he is already socialized into practicing the deed before knowing the name for such. There are a lot of ways that the parents can teach their students. However, language dialogue is so far the most effective tool of teaching children. “It is primarily through their speech that adults are assumed to transmit to children the rich body of knowledge that exists in their culture” (Kristinsdottir, 2008).

Only after the person is able to learn the language of the society will he be able to internalize. Internalization happens when the individual tries to encode the information into a mental concept that he will be able to understand and store it in his mental faculty. It is the process by which people learn. And because the knowledge (language) exists outside of the individual’s being, internalizing also denotes that the information is an outside entity which will enter the individual. That is why it is called internalization. The individual will never learn the language until he is introduced to it.

And until he is introduced to it, he will not have the capacity to learn it and imbibe this new form of socialization. Inter and Intrapsychology Let’s use an example to make the concept more understandable. For example, the information age taught people how to use computers and how to use the internet. What the computer teachers and computer manuals taught children are interpsychological. Interaction with the teacher is already socialization. The language that was used in the manuals was also a form of communication from the manufacturer to the readers.

Therefore it involves interacting with the teacher or the writer of the computer manual. After this process is done, intrapsychological learning follows. The human mind processes what the person learned from the manual. The simple act of understanding what a string of words mean, it is already a form of interaction with yourself. The individual is communicating with his mind every time he tries to learn new knowledge. Thus it becomes a form of intrapsychological learning because the individual is teaching his mind to absorb new information. Vygotsky’s Three Types of Speech

Social Speech All human beings have the innate need to communicate. We need to understand and be understood in return and that is the reason why we reach out to other people by communicating with them. “This is the kind of speech children use to express their needs and emotions” (The Mozart of Psychology, 2010). From the very beginning of our lives, we were trained to communicate in order to fulfill our needs. Babies, despite not having the faculty for speaking, were trained that babies only have to cry in order to be attended to. This is what social speech is all about.

The basic concept here is to be understood by the people around you. Social speech begins the learning process. This is where socialization takes place. The culture of the community in which the individual is reared determines what kind of information will be fed to them. In fact, “speech performs a socializing purpose as it is used to communicate and to carry out social relations with other people” (The Mozart of Psychology, 2010). Without learning the language, speech is not possible. Without speech, there will be no interaction with the members of the community.

And without interaction, knowledge will not be passed on from one person to the other, Therefore, the learning process breaks down if one of these factors is not present. Egocentric Speech In egocentric speech, the individual tries to make a connection between external and internal knowledge. With the presence of external knowledge, such as the presence of information about alphabets, the individual might do a couple of things that will help him imbibe the information. This is done through the five senses if the individual: sight, hearing, tasting, feeling, smelling.

A student might begin saying the names of these alphabets in order to learn them. Saying “A.. B.. C.. ” is a form of egocentric speech because the learner is attempting to store the information by “speaking” about the alphabets. The knowledge is not yet completely abstracted and the individual still needs a form of connection between the “tangible” and the “idea” of alphabets. Inner Speech This is the end all of the learning process. Inner speech begins with the individuals internalizing the socially learned knowledge. This is when the egocentric speech stops making “connections.

” Instead, in this phase, everything is totally abstract already. The person can finally do away with speaking aloud since the knowledge is already learned. The concept of the 24 English alphabets is already in the individual’s mind. Without inner speech, goal of socialization will not be met since the individual will not learn the information. Simply put, from the simple act of social learning (i. e. parents talking to their children), the child learns how to function in the community by emanating what he sees. He learns what he sees around him and that is the natural course of social learning.

Afterwards, he must make a connection between this tangible instances that he witnessed in his surroundings. He can speak, think, or read aloud to absorb the idea that he learned from socialization. And this will then allow him to master the information and convert this tangible information into a mental form. Conclusion Vygotsky’s claim to fame is now a theory known all over the world. Aside from being a very logical theory, it is by far the most practical because it takes into consideration the role of culture in educating individuals.

Although these three processes (social, egocentric, and inner speech)are completely different from each other, they are of equal importance. Not one of these processes will be possible if they are not complete. Bypassing social speech will not allow the individual to learn the knowledge that the community wants him to learn. Without the process of socialization, no knowledge will be transmitted from one person to the other. Without egocentric speech, the ability of the individual to transform the knowledge into an abstract mental concept will not be possible.

There is always a need to complete all of these three processes. That is the only time wherein Vygostky’s concept of Social Learning will become successful.


Kristinsdottir, S. B. (2008, October 21). Lev Vygotsky. Retrieved August 10, 2010, from Starfsfolk: http://starfsfolk. khi. is/solrunb/vygotsky. htm Social Development Theory. (2010). Retrieved August 10, 2010, from Learning Theories: Knowledge Base and Webliography: http://www. learning-theories. com/vygotskys-social-learning-theory. html The Mozart of Psychology. (2010). Retrieved August 11, 2010, from Vygotsky. org. : http://vygotsky. afraid. org/

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