Psychology of Learning SocioConstructivist Analysis

In analyzing the given case, when Robbie overheard the conversation between the two adults about how ear infections come about from letting babies sleep with bottles of milk in their mouths, he exhibits Salomon &amp. Perkins’ active social mediation of individual learning, with him as the learner and the two adults as the facilitating agent. Robbie absorbs the new information he hears and he forms his own mental picture to help him understand it.

When he shares this information with his mother, he enters another form of social learning as he actively engages in a dialogue on their theories of the origins of ear infections. He shares his own opinion that the milk dribbles down from outside the mouth and runs into the ear, causing the infection. He now learns with social mediation by being a participant in knowledge construction. In their dialogue, when it is his turn to listen to his mother’s explanation that the milk goes through a tube that connects the back of the mouth to the middle ear, called a Eustachian tube, he keeps that new information in mind. However, he sticks to his original theory while discussing it with his mother.

After his dialogue with his mother, he gets to internalize his newly-learned knowledge. He gets into the zone of proximal development when he internalizes the external process (his mother’s explanation), integrating it with his current cognitive base, thereby raising his level of cognitive functioning a notch higher than if he was left alone with his own theories, and his mother did not provide the necessary scaffolding (her alternative theory, complete with a rational explanation and patient dialoguing).

When Robbie eventually shares his advice to his father about not letting his baby brother, Kellan sleeps with a milk bottle in his mouth, it can be said that mediation was effective because he was able to transform his understanding of his new knowledge in explaining the origin of a probable ear infection.