Using a Vygotskian sociocultural approach to pedagogy: Insights from some teachers in South Africa

  • Edmore Mutekwe Northwest university, School of Professional studies Mafikeng campus
Keywords: Scaffolding, learning tools, zone of proximal development, transformation


The goal of the study on which this article is based was to examine teachers’ perspectives on the effectiveness of adopting a Vygotskian sociocultural approach to teaching and learning in the classrooms. The study used focus group interview discussions to gather views from 20 classroom practitioners who had completed a BEd Hons in Education Psychology. The teachers were from five secondary schools in the Gauteng region. Among the key concepts explored in the focus group discussions (FGDs) were the role of scaffolding when linked to mediated learning experiences (MLEs), the use of situated learning experiences in the learners’ zones of proximal development (ZPD), and how the approach helped transform the learners’ skills from lower to higher psychological functions through the use of material, psychological and semiotic tools in the classroom. The analysis of the data followed a thematic approach, with emerging codes being clustered into code families. Among the key findings of the study was the view of teachers that adopting a multipronged strategy that includes the use of authentic learning conversations, learning tools (material, psychological, and semiotic) and situated learning experiences goes a long way towards fostering useful teaching and learning. The study illustrated that classroom practitioners do need to take into account and adopt the many and varied benefits that can be derived from an authentic sociocultural approach to teaching and learning.

Author Biography

Edmore Mutekwe, Northwest university, School of Professional studies Mafikeng campus
Professional studies, Professor
Research Articles