How to use Vygotsky's Theory of the Zone of Proximal Development-ZPD to enhance various multiple intelligences of students in the classroom

Thomas Adam Johnson
How to use Vygotsky’s theory of the Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) to enhance
various multiple intelligences of students in the classroom
The zone of proximal development is the difference between what a learner can do without
help and what he or she can do with help. Essentially, this is a term that can better be described
by a term from Ann Brown known as ‘scaffolding’. Scaffolding can be defined as:
Teacher modeling behavior for the student
Student imitating the teacher’s behavior
Teacher fading out instruction
Student practicing reciprocal teaching (scaffolding others) until the skill is mastered
by all students in the classroom.
Below are some examples to enhance multiple intelligences of students.
Words (linguistic intelligence): A student should read something that is neither too hard,
nor too easy that they get bored with it. The teacher may start to read with the students,
then ask the students to read with them, and then ask the students to read on their own
and eventually have the students reading to one another in groups.
Numbers or logic (logical-mathematical intelligence): The teacher shows the students
new mathematical procedures. The students may then be asked where this could be
applied in life. The students and teacher work together to get the answer for such a
problem. After the student has realized how the problems are solved, the student can
then take this learning to apply it to another strategy in life. They may create projects or
other types of fabrications to show the understanding of their new knowledge.
Pictures (spatial intelligence): In art class a teacher might be teaching perspective and
the student may be completely unaware of what this term or idea means. The drawings
may be completely awry or skewed. The teacher can then introduce 1-point perspective,
which leads to 2-point perspective and eventually 3-point perspective. As the student
mimics what the teacher has shown through example, the student will start to adapt the
perspective ideas to his or her own drawings. Eventually, the student will not focus on
the 1, 2, or 3-point perspective at all in the drawings but will be applying it, showing
foreground, middle and background naturally.
Music (musical intelligence): There are so many components to the complexity of music.
Initially a teacher may be singing or playing a song and allowing the students to sit, listen
and enjoy. Often the students will begin to sing along as well. Eventually the teacher
may point out that the music is following notes on a staff of a sheet of music. The
students can learn about different fluctuations and begin to correlate that with the shift of
the notes on the paper. Ultimately the student will learn many of the other determining
characteristics of what the sheet of music is telling them. They will continue to follow
along with it and the music, but in the end should be able to look at the sheet music by
itself and be able to sing the song a capella or without accompaniment.
A physical experience (bodily-kinesthetic intelligence): In gymnastics a coach or spotter is
often used when doing new moves for a gymnast. The first time the gymnast flows
through a move, it is the coach who physically shifts the body of the tumbler. It is usually
an awkward and unnatural feeling for the person who is being manipulated. After a while,
the gymnast performs this task repeatedly with less and less spotting. Eventually, the
spotter moves away completely and has the gymnast doing the routine move on their
own. The coach is still giving tips about better performance techniques. Finally, the
Thomas Adam Johnson
gymnast is doing these procedures to near perfection. The coach is no longer needed
and the gymnast will now usually try a new move or combine this one with something
else for a more elaborate sequence.
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