Each paradigm typology maintains a different perspective as to how an issue should be approached. One of the main types is called the historical-social paradigm, it is recognized as a learning and research pattern that takes into account all social references . That is, it is a position that will always take into account aspects such as the historical period, social opportunities as well as the personal disposition of each individual.

The central premise of this type of paradigm is found in the study of the individual cognitive development process . This is characterized by not having autonomy and independence from external processes such as those of a sociocultural and educational nature. It suggests that the only possibility of understanding the psychological development process is taking into account the context in which a person is immersed.

A society governs by instruments and practices, which have been determined and organized through various historical processes with great social influence. The cultural context plays an essential and determining role in the personal development process.

What is the historical-social paradigm?

The historical-social paradigm receives several names, namely: historical-cultural paradigm or sociocultural paradigm ; but it is known particularly by ecological paradigm and the name that opens this article.

The historical-social paradigm argues that the process of cognitive development of a person cannot be separated from sociocultural transformations , nor from educational developments. Consequently, for this paradigm the study of the processes of psychological conformation is consubstantial to the historical-cultural context in which it takes place.

In short, the position of the historical-social paradigm places social interaction as the center of the development of individuals, together with the internal disposition of the subject. It is then impossible to analyze the individual outside his society, his culture or his history. The notion of the paradigm leaves no gap in the link between its functional aspects, its environment and cultural products . The context definitely permeates the cognitive functions of the subject.

Characteristics of the historical-social paradigm

The main characteristics of the historical-social paradigm are described below. They are the most outstanding aspects that allow a better understanding of its functions and influence. They are as follows:

  • Sociocultural theory is a psychological doctrine that examines the connections between external and internal cognitive processes.
  • This paradigm arises under the influence of human ecology , particularly its condition of cultural ecology, which understands that culture is an essential element of the human community.
  • For the historical-social paradigm, language and intelligence are psychological processes that depend particularly on social, historical and cultural factors. Therefore, they are phenomena that originate from complex socio-cultural links, from cultural interactions. Language is the indispensable means to assimilate culture.
  • In the educational field, the student is seen as a social being. As such, it is a derivative and agent of various social interactions, including school ones. And as for the role of the teacher, it is also an agent derived from its sociocultural context, whose teaching and mediation practices occur in a socioculturally determined environment.
  • The objectives and goals of the socio-cultural paradigm in education seek the development of language and intelligence .
  • Try to analyze the ways in which the social environment exerts its influence on human development and behavior. The beliefs, customs and human environment , determine the formation of individuals.
  • The learning of individuals is understood as a social process . Human development is due to a socially mediated process, which changes from one culture to another. The context is brought into the classroom with which meaningful learning is stimulated; that is, the context is transformed into a systematized experience.
  • Having said the above, learning is understood as a mediation process, which seeks the socialization and acculturation of students.
  • Social mediation is essential for the development of the cognitive and emotional capacity of the subjects. Social learning takes precedence over the cognitive development of child-age subjects. They actively create knowledge.
  • Based on the above, sociocultural theory aims to create a system that enables systematic investigation of cognition , appealing to the social context.
  • The socioculturalism of this paradigm connects human learning and behavior with the individual, social and contextual dimensions. Therefore, it is impossible to dissociate the object of study from its context.
  • The student has a learning potential that can only be developed with the intervention of the appropriate agents; that is, through the implementation of collaborative, constructive and meaningful tools .
  • Intelligence derives from context and develops through learning rather than inheritance.
  • Due to its methodology, the historical-social paradigm is qualitative and ethnographic. It puts its efforts in the products, behaviors and modes of mediation of people. Their interests are centered on their beliefs, values, points of view, meanings of life, etc. It is, in this sense, an endogamous inquiry , since it is done from within the community, through participatory observation.

In conclusion

For the historical-social paradigm, students should be defined as social beings, constructs and actors of the various social mediations, inside and outside the school campus.

And the teacher and professor must be understood as cultural agents, whose role as educator is immersed in a field of strategies and systems that are socially and culturally delimited. They are then primary mediators between the sociocultural knowledge and the cognitive experience of the students.   The training is channeled towards the promotion of construction zones so that the subject assimilates the knowledge, following and participating in interactive activities that the teacher proposes.

This is what the historical-social model exposes, that the teacher promotes the articulation of development zones close to the students, using strategic training systems. Formal education, passed through the sieve of the paradigm in question, must follow a structure and ideology in accordance with the function of promoting intelligence, language, attention, perception, reasoning and planning in individuals. In addition, this implies the critical and functional use of skills, of the technological tools of the environment (computers, Internet, etc.), by students.

The historical-social paradigm has been of great help in understanding culture , since it has dedicated itself to studying it in its own spheres or mediations, giving the learning process a community and social perspective.

Furthermore, the paradigm in question has allowed the investigation of the social conformation of the brain and personality, from a psychic and social perspective . With this model, learning is cooperative, critical and occurs between peers.

On the other hand, the paradigm has strengthened the implementation of a sociological current of the study plan and of its own institutional culture. In a sum of visions, the own educational projects and the official curricular projects have been concatenated. In this kind of prerogatives, the teacher and professor take on new tasks , not only as a mediator of learning, but also as an interlocutor of social culture.

And, finally, the socio-cultural paradigm advocates that there be a basic and compulsory school whose objective is the preparation and development of individuals suitable for interpersonal and civic coexistence . To the previous virtues of the socio-cultural paradigm are added a group of limitations, namely:

  • In its conceptual body there are still gaps. The integration that he proposes between ecology and socio-cultural reality still lacks other reflections. That is, this comprehensive perspective attempts to encompass a global culture; however, it tends to put aside its constituent elements, its specific learners. This collectivist vision distances him from the individuals that make up that group.
  • The research systems are not yet sufficiently clear. It starts from the inference, but the correspondence in the conclusions is not clear. And it is that it starts from the particular to the general, qualitatively analyzing some cases.
  • In research practice there is a tendency to oppose the cognitive and socio-cultural paradigms; however, they can be complementary. The first is committed to subjective learning and the second to social learning. Seen in the form of complementary models, the one in the whole and the all in the one would be a broader and more interesting analysis. A paradigm that adds social, cognitive and contextual aspects, and in which subject-context are integrated, bis by bis, is more complete.
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Alexa Clark specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She has experience in listening and welcoming in Individual Therapy and Couples Therapy. It meets demands such as generalized anxiety, professional, love and family conflicts, stress, depression, sexual dysfunction, grief, and adolescents from 15 years of age. Over the years, She felt the need to conduct the psychotherapy sessions with subtlety since She understands that the psychologist acts as a facilitator of self-understanding and self-acceptance, valuing each person's respect, uniqueness, and acceptance.

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