Quote from Vygotsky: The problem of the environment

“Research has revealed that the emergence of inner speech is based on external speech. Originally, for a child, speech represents a means of communication between people, it manifests itself as a social function, in its social role. But gradually a child learns how to use speech to serve himself, his internal processes. Now speech becomes not just a means of communication with other people, but also a means for the child’s own inner thinking processes. Then it no longer represents that speech which we use aloud when we communicate with one another, but it becomes an inner, silent, tacit speech. But where did speech as a means of thinking come from? From speech as a means of communication. From the external activity which the child was involved in with the people around him, appeared one of the most important inner functions without which man’s very thinking process could not exist.”

Available from http://www.marxists.org/archive/vygotsky/works/1934/environment.htm


  • How does this relate to using social media or other technology with social affordance for collaborative learning and knowledge construction?
  • How does it affect learning and possibly what else, when these technologies have a built-in asynchronous affordance, that allows us to stop in the middle of a conversation, reflect (use inner speech) and continue a discussion (external speech)?
  • How should we take this to account when designing instruction?

One thought on “Quote from Vygotsky: The problem of the environment

  1. Maybe one running theme to these questions would be the control over individuals environments that learners have nowadays. The shift is now not on availability, but choice…where the decisions for information flow originate. Also, I think the second question you have here (the longest one) could be thought of in the opposite way. For a long time we’ve had very asynchronous learning (through printed word, texts, rcorded video). Recently, we’re dealing with more of a unification, or a continuous conversation that is quite different than the past…maybe we have to focus on how the ideas of reflection can fit into this field of information flow. Thx for the post

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