How can we develop talent? - Let them have your back! 

사람의 재능을 키우려면 - 앞을 보고 가르치려 하기 보단 당신의 등을 내주세요.



The Zone of Proximal Development (ZPD) Theory by Lev Vygotsky


What Is the Zone of Proximal Development? (Reference #1)


The zone of proximal development refers to the difference between what a learner can do without help and what he or she can achieve with guidance and encouragement from a skilled partner.

Thus, the term “proximal” refers to those skills that the learner is “close” to mastering.

The concept, zone of proximal development was developed by Soviet psychologist and social constructivist Lev Vygotsky (1896 – 1934).

The zone of proximal development (ZPD) 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-olving under adult guidance, or in collaboration with more capable peers" (Vygotsky, 1978, p. 86).

Vygotsky believed that when a student is in the zone of proximal development for a particular task, providing the appropriate assistance will give the student enough of a "boost" to achieve the task.


To assist a person to move through the zone of proximal development, educators are encouraged to focus on three important components which aid the learning process:

The presence of someone with knowledge and skills beyond that of the learner (a more knowledgeable other).



More Knowledgeable Other


The more knowledgeable other (MKO) is somewhat self-explanatory; it refers to someone who has a better understanding or a higher ability level than the learner, with respect to a particular task, process, or concept.

Although the implication is that the MKO is a teacher or an older adult, this is not necessarily the case. Many times, a child's peers or an adult's children may be the individuals with more knowledge or experience.




Social Interaction


Social interactions with a skillful tutor that allow the learner to observe and practice their skills.


According to Vygotsky (1978), much important learning by the child occurs through social interaction with a skillful tutor. The tutor may model behaviors and/or provide verbal instructions for the child. Vygotsky refers to this as cooperative or collaborative dialogue.

The child seeks to understand the actions or instructions provided by the tutor (often the parent or teacher) then internalizes the information, using it to guide or regulate their own performance.


Scaffolding, or supportive activities provided by the educator, or more competent peer to support the student as he or she is led through the ZPD.



A coward cannot raise a warrior!  


In order to develop the next generation talent, we need to let a cup have our back to secure and grow itself behind our back. 


This means that we need to confront many threats and challenges from the outside to protect our apprentice. 







Image source: 본초비담







McLeod, S. A. (2019). What Is the zone of proximal development?. Simply psychology.



Vygotsky, L. S. (1978). Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.





by Jeonghwan (Jerry) Choi, PhD, MBA, ME


Nov. 30, 2020

Posted by Jeonghwan Choi

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