Parallel Paths to Constructivism

Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky

Susan Pass, Clemson University

Published 2004

No two people were more responsible for the current way lessons are taught worldwide than Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky. Both men had an important impact worldwide on how a person should be taught--starting in the last century and continuing today. Jean Piaget's Genetic Epistemology concentrated on the individual in learning. Lev Vygotsky's Cultural–Historical Theory concentrated on the social in learning. All over the world, teachers today use each man's ideas. Some use them at different times in their classrooms and others have learned to use them combined into the same lesson--bringing us to the crux of this book; namely, there are many lessons to learn by discovering the dynamics in the lives of both men. While both were from very different countries, there are many similarities in their lives. While most professors teaching introductory educational psychology courses focus on the difference in their lesson strategies, there are some remarkable similarities between their respective pedagogies.

While differences in their families and countries were obviously significant, the two men differed surprisingly little in their pedagogical views and their basic ideas. Their similarities in views and ideas are due to the similarities in their lives. Chapter 1 looks at those similarities by looking at influences in their childhood. Chapter 2 observes their adolescence. Chapter 3 concentrates on young adulthood. Chapter 4 covers their postgraduate work. Chapter 5 traces the origins of their major ideas. For Jean Piaget, we look at the origin of chronological stages of development, the role of language, the role of the teacher, optimal mismatch, equilibration, error, and play. For Lev Vygotsky, we look at the origin of zone of proximal development, internalization, stage of development, "the social other," role of language, error, sociohistorical context of learning, scaffolding and play. Chapter 6 deals with how Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky were able to overcome adversity and the lessons that can be learned by such overcoming. Chapter 7 provides a new pedagogy based on the communications that Jean Piaget and Lev Vygotsky had with each other, noting the influence such communications had on their mutual ideas.

Introduction. Chapter 1. Childhood. Chapter 2. Adolescence. Chapter 3. Young Adulthood. Chapter 4. Postgraduate Work. Chapter 5. Origin Of Ideas. Chapter 6. The Lessons Taught On How To Conquer Adversity. Chapter 7. The Pedagogy If Piaget And Vygotsky Were Able To Fully Collaborate. Chapter 8. Bibliography. Chapter 9. Appendix. Index.