This work presents landmark research concerning the vital dynamics of childhood psychological development. It's origin can be traced to the late 1970s, when several psychologists began to challenge existing notions of cognitive development by suggesting that such functioning is bound to specific contexts and that cognitive development is based on the mastery of culturally defined ways of speaking, thinking, and acting. About the same time, several translations were made available in this country of the seminal work of Vygotsky, the noted theoretician, offering a conceptual base on which these workers could build. This volume, with contributions from many of the scholars who pioneered this area and translated the work of Vygotsky, looks at the complex mechanisms by which children acquire the cultural and linguistic tools to carry out cognitive activities and explores the implications of this research for education. The book is organized around three main parts: Discourse and Learning in Classroom Practice, Interpersonal Relations in Formal and Informal Education, and The Sociocultural Institutions of Formal and Informal Education.
An afterword by Jacqueline Goodnow suggests new directions for sociocultural research and education. The intended audience is composed of developmental, educational, and cognitive psychologists, along with advanced students in developmental and educational psychology.