Vygotsky the Teacher : A Companion to his Psychology for Teachers and Other Practitioners book cover
1st Edition

Vygotsky the Teacher
A Companion to his Psychology for Teachers and Other Practitioners

ISBN 9780429203046
Published August 29, 2021 by Routledge
256 Pages 2 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This highly accessible guide to the varied aspects of Vygotsky’s psychology emphasises his abiding interest in education. Vygotsky was a teacher, a researcher and educational psychologist who worked in special needs education, and his interest in pedagogy was fundamental to all his work. Vygotsky the Teacher analyses and discusses the full range of his ideas and their far-reaching educational implications.

Drawing on new work, research and fresh translations, this unique text foregrounds key Vygotskian perspectives on play, imagination and creativity, poetry, literature and drama, the emotions, and the role of language in the development of thought. It explains the textual issues surrounding Vygotsky’s publications that have, until recently, obscured some of the theoretical links between his ideas. It underlines Vygotsky’s determination to create a psychology that is capable of explaining all aspects of the development of mind.

Vygotsky the Teacher is essential reading for students on education and psychology courses at all levels, and for all practitioners wanting to know more about Vygotsky’s theories and their roots in research and practice. It offers a unique road map of his work, connecting its different aspects, and placing them in the context of his life and the times in which he lived.

Table of Contents


Chapter 1 Beginnings

Chapter 2 The Psychology of Art

Chapter 3 Vygotsky and Defectology

Chapter 4 The Crisis in Psychology

Chapter 5 Tool and Symbol

Chapter 6 The Development of Higher Psychological Functions

Chapter 7 Vygotsky and Pedology

Chapter 8 Play, Imagination and Creativity

Chapter 9 The Zone of Proximal/Proximate Development

Chapter 10 Thinking and Speech 1: Word Meaning Develops

Chapter 11 Thinking and Speech 2: The Final ‘Why’

Chapter 12 After Vygotsky


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Myra Barrs is a freelance writer and consultant. She is Honorary Senior Research Associate at the UCL Institute of Education, UK, and former director of the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education.


"This book shows Vygotsky in a new light - not only as an outstanding scientist, the creator of the revolutionary theory of the development of human consciousness but also as a magnificent practitioner, educator, and a teacher. I am glad that this brilliantly written book continues the discovery of Vygotsky’s theory and practice for the 21st century. The book shows that Vygotsky's ideas are not outdated and even now can serve as a fundamental basis for transforming existing educational practices for the sustainable development of humans and society." - Nikolai Veresov, Associate Professor of Early Childhood Education, Monash University. Author of Undiscovered Vygotsky

"With elegance and meticulous attention to detail, Myra Barrs takes us on a careful path through the writings of Vygotsky that have come to light at various points over the last 80 years. She gives us a rich and nuanced understanding of the complex interplay of emotion, cognition and art in Vygotsky’s work, revealing, as she does so, how limited and one-dimensional are many earlier accounts." - Henrietta Dombey, Professor Emerita of Primary Literacy at the University of Brighton. Author of Teaching Writing: What the Evidence Says

"Vygotsky is usually considered one of the most original psychologists of the last century, but often his theoretical perspective is highlighted rather than the concrete application of his ideas. Instead Myra Barrs, through a systematic analysis of the original Vygotskyan texts and the most up-to-date literature on the Russian psychologist, definitively shows the close circular relationship between theory and practice in his thought: Vygotsky is a "teacher" not only for his personal experience in schools and universities, but also for his promotion of the psychological and social growth of new generations, a perspective of increasing relevance for contemporary psychology." - Luciano Mecacci, Former Professor of General Psychology, University of Florence, Italy. Author of Lev Vygotskij: sviluppo, educazione e patologia della mente

"Myra Barrs's book sails right into areas that have been at the centre of controversy in recent times, and she puts everything in the context of the whole of Vygotsky's work. It would seem that she has produced a definitive textbook on Vygotsky's ideas for his principal readership, teachers." - Andy Blunden, author of Hegel for Social Movements

"It is a book [that] cannot be recommended too highly. Barrs’ account combines biography with just the right amount of historical analysis. She writes from critical awareness of the corpus of Vygotsky’s writings, including an understanding of the issues of editing and different versions...The core of her approach is an engagement with key texts and a chapter-by-chapter exposition of Vygotsky’s concepts and developing thought. The outcome is an intellectual biography that is gripping, scholarly, and accessible. It is a brilliant synthesis, crisp, lucidly written, ‘a companion’, in the publisher's words, to one of the key influences in any serious work in language, learning, and literacy." - Tony Burgess, Changing English