Current conceptions of development and learning in children can be reduced to three major theoretical positions. First believes that process of child developments is independent of learning. Learning is purely an external process. Second position believes that learning is development. Finally the last position believes that development is based on two inherently different but related processes, each of which influences the other.
The zone of proximal development has been defined as “the distance between the actual developmental level as determined by independent problem solving and the level of potential development as determined through problem solving under adult guidance, or in collaboration with more capable peers” (Vygotsky, p86). Vygotsky views interaction with peers as an effective way of developing skills and strategies. He suggests that teachers use cooperative learning exercises where less competent children develop with help from more skillful peers - within the zone of proximal development. Vygotsky believed that when a student is at the ZPD for a particular task, providing the appropriate assistance will give the student enough of a "boost" to achieve the task. “From this point of view, learning is not development; however, properly organized learning results in mental development and sets in motion a variety of developmental process that would be impossible apart from learning” (Vygotsky, p90).
During my student teaching at the Saturday Art Program of Pratt, my twelve-year-old students were not capable of abstract ideas and conceptual thinking. Children at this age have developed their hand dexterity. They are capable to control their hands; therefore psychotically they become more product and goal oriented. Children at this age are not ready to think accept abstract paintings or ideas, however according to Vygotsky there is a zone of proximal development. If the teacher utilizes zone of proximal development or scaffolding that will help the children to boost their learning. During my student teaching, I also adopted the concept of zone of proximal development in my curriculum so the children will be able to be elaborated to a higher premature level.