Lev Vygotsky and Jean Piaget both believed that children are active seekers of knowledge. Vygotsky that believed that children were greatly impacted by rich social and cultural environments, while Piaget believed that children are impacted by their own personal experiences. Piaget and Vygotsky’s theories do compliment each other in many ways despite this difference.
Both theorists believe in discovery of learning and acceptance of individual differences. Discovery of learning consists of encouraging children to discover for themselves through unprompted interaction with the environment. The acceptance of individual differences in both theories is the same. Vygotsky and Piaget both believed that all children go through the same stages of development but at different rates. Therefore, children are better off in a classroom in which the teacher plans for activities where children that are at the same stage can work together.
Though a classroom inspired by the Piaget theory can be seen as similar in some aspects to a classroom inspired by the Vygotsky theory, they can also be seen as very different in the same aspects. Piaget believes that children should discover on their own and should not be guided by others, while Vygotsky believes that others when learning should guide children. Another difference in the two theories is that in the Piaget theory teachers do not impose new skills unless children show interest or readiness in that skill. Vygotsky, on the other hand, believes in the “ zone of proximal development.” The zone of proximal development is a range of tasks and or activities that children cannot handle by themselves yet but can do with the help of more skilled partners.
Overall, the theories of Lev Vygotsky and Jean Piaget are seen as different. However, there are some characteristics of each theory that make these theories similar. Both theories still remain very influential in classrooms today.