Summer 2021 - EDUC 879 G031

Lev Vygotsky's Theories in Education (5)

Class Number: 4067

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:




Covers all major aspects of Lev Vygotsky's cultural-historical activity theory of human development and its contemporary applications in education. Concepts include the zone of proximal development of higher psychological functions, language and consciousness, interfunctional relations, analysis according to units, and "tool-and-result" methodology.


Meeting Dates:
May 7, 8 & 28, 29
Jun 11, 12 & 25, 26
Jul 9, 10

Meeting Times:
Fridays: 5:00 – 8:00 pm
Saturdays: 9:00 – 3:00 pm

Meeting Location:



Why Vygotsky theory?  In the heart, Vygotsky theory is about human development and the role of culture and activity in human development.  It is about how children learn, develop, and how teachers can help them to learn and develop.  By focusing on understanding the connection between thinking development and language development, or by asking the question of how are development and learning related to each other, Vygotsky was able to provide us with valuable insights into the role of a teacher in human development.  

In this class, we will emphasize current educational research that seeks to resolve methodological issues associated with the analysis of learning and development and theoretical approaches that place culture and activity at the center of attempts to understand human nature. We will also pay close attention to connections between the Imaginative Education approach and other approaches under the umbrella of widely defined sociocultural theories of education and instruction and Vygotsky's theory.


  • Participation in the discussion of the readings, your own research on the topics, and class activities 20%
  • Class presentation 30%
  • Paper/Project (submitted twice) 50%


The following criteria will be used to assess your assignments:


As A (below), but at a somewhat higher level of acuteness.


Outstanding grasp of concepts and issues; evidence of careful and precise reading of required texts and other related texts; ability to relate theoretical discussions to practice accurately; critical evaluation of reading selections, discussions, and lectures, including evidence of independent, consistent judgment; fluent, appropriate use of relevant concepts; careful attention to the ideas of others as well as courtesy in addressing them; and imaginative organization and present­ation of written work.


As above, but at a somewhat lower level of acuteness.


Clear use of relevant literature and background reading; appropriate use of relevant concepts; sound structure and good organization; sound critical evaluation; clear linkages with broader issues; and courtesy in dealing with others’ ideas and opinions.


Reasonably accurate grasp of critical concepts and issues; relevant, appropriate analysis and discussion; adequately clear structure to written work; sensible incorporation of reading selections into arguments; accurate, sensible evaluative discussions; and courtesy in dealing with others’ ideas and opinions.


As above, but at a somewhat lower level of acuteness.


Little evidence of having read or adequately understood required reading selections; limited grasp of concepts under discussion; divergence from main points to items that are only peripherally or superficially related; contributions that are mostly anecdotal or concrete rather than dealing with principles and theories; largely descriptive writing with little analysis, though showing some grasp of the main issues.


Solely descriptive and only peripheral points engaged; lack of evidence of reading or limited understanding of required reading selections; conceptual confusion; irrelevant, muddled, poorly organized material.



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

ISBN: 978-0-674-57629-2

Vygotsky's Educational Theory in Cultural Context (2003) Kozulin & others (Eds.) Cambridge University Press. (also available as e-book from SFU library)

ISBN 10: 0-521-52883-6

ISBN: 978-0-521-52883-2


The Cambridge Companion to Vygotsky. Edited by H.Daniels, M.Cole, J.Wertsch. Cambridge University Press.

ISBN: 978-0-521-53787-2

Vygotsky, L.S. Thought and Language - Revised Edition Alex Kozulin (Ed,) [Paperback] MIT Press (also available as e-book from SFU library).

ISBN: 978-0-262-72010-6

Graduate Studies Notes:

Important dates and deadlines for graduate students are found here: The deadline to drop a course with a 100% refund is the end of week 2. The deadline to drop with no notation on your transcript is the end of week 3.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity web site is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University.


Teaching at SFU in summer 2021 will be conducted primarily through remote methods, but we will continue to have in-person experiential activities for a selection of courses.  Such course components will be clearly identified at registration, as will course components that will be “live” (synchronous) vs. at your own pace (asynchronous). Enrollment acknowledges that remote study may entail different modes of learning, interaction with your instructor, and ways of getting feedback on your work than may be the case for in-person classes. To ensure you can access all course materials, we recommend you have access to a computer with a microphone and camera, and the internet. In some cases your instructor may use Zoom or other means requiring a camera and microphone to invigilate exams. If proctoring software will be used, this will be confirmed in the first week of class.

Students with hidden or visible disabilities who believe they may need class or exam accommodations, including in the current context of remote learning, are encouraged to register with the SFU Centre for Accessible Learning ( or 778-782-3112).