Thomas Adam Johnson ict-design.org 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 ict-design.org 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.