The Zone of Proximal Development

Conventional education systems are not designed to personalize learning. Classrooms in most schools have a student-teacher ratio close to or higher than 30:1

That makes it impossible for single teacher to cater to the learning needs of every child with the same level of precision, efficiency, and effectiveness. 

Under fast-paced, test-heavy, standardized conditions, teachers inevitably teach to the imaginary middle. That leaves most children experiencing insurmountable difficulty with every new learning activity.  

The good news is that we can change the status quo.

Lev Vygotsky's Zone of Proximal Development

You may have heard of athletes getting into the “zone.” Learning is just like sport in that regard. There is a zone where children can experience “learning flow.

Lev Vygotsky, the Soviet child psychologist, called it the Zone of Proximal Development. It is that remarkable space where learning is neither too difficult nor too easy. It is just right to help children build a true love of learning and acquire the tools and skills they need for mastery.

Vygotsky discovered that children learn best when  supported by more knowledgeable others, a skillful tutor, and appropriate scaffolding, particularly when given opportunity to focus on attaining knowledge and skills that are just beyond their ability to master without help. 

The combination of conditions optimize learning by freeing up children to stay seamlessly and continually in a state of flow.  


Learn about Bloom’s Two Sigma Challenge.

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