The Vygotsky on Education Primer serves as an introduction to the life and work of the Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky. Even though he died almost eighty years ago, his life's work remains both relevant and significant to the field of education today. This book examines Vygotsky's emphasis on the role of cultural and historical context in learning, while challenging theories that emphasize a universalistic view of learning through fixed, biologically determined stages of development. Given our current preoccupation with standardized outcomes and the corporatization of schooling, Vygotsky's most important ideas about education need to be reconsidered. The primer provides an overview of his two best-known ideas: the zone of proximal development and the development of thinking and speech as a means of empowerment, and discusses Vygotsky's views of the roles of critical and creative imagination in the formation of personal agency and in creative collaboration. Applications to current practices from a wide range of sources clarify and promote relevance to diverse audiences. This primer presents the essence of Vygotsky's work in language that is accessible to all students of education.
Robert Lake is an assistant professor at Georgia Southern University, where he teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in multicultural education from both a local and global perspective. He edited and contributed to Dear Maxine: Letters from the Unfinished Conversation with Maxine Greene (2010) and Dear Nel: Opening the Circles of Care (Letters to Nel Noddings) (2012).