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Z

Zone of proximal development A concept introduced and developed by Vygotsky. It is defined as the learning that can easily be achieved with the support and guidance of a teacher. It is the gap between what a pupil has achieved and what they could achieve with the support of a teacher or peer. It provides a foundation on which teachers can build and develop their pupils’ learning. It also connects with the idea of readiness or preparedness and the idea of scaffolding. There are a number of levels, the lower level being independence, where the pupil can learn on their own, and the upper level where the pupil finds it impossible to acquire new knowledge and skills even with the support of a teacher or their peers. Learning that is within the pupil’s zone of potentiality has a high degree of success but learning beyond that zone may end up in failure. Progress in learning within this zone is dependent on co-operative and collaborative group work and discussion within the groups. Pupils, by collaborating and co-operating in groups, are in a stronger position to address challenging learning tasks and become independent learners.