Vygotsky and Rogers on Education: An Exploration of Two Fundamental Questions


Test, Joan E. and Cornelius-White, Jeffrey H. D.


This article attempts to introduce the main ideas of Vygotsky’s and Rogers’ theories of education using two fundamental questions to guide the discussion: the purpose of education and how one can facilitate learning. Rogers believed that education should foster self- actualization and democracy. Learning can be facilitated through environments characterized by reciprocal empathy, unconditionality, and authenticity that are flexible to the varied demands of many different learners and the broader educational system. Vygotsky believed that education fostered individuals’ development of higher level thinking in a socio-cultural context, where individuals learn their culture’s ways of thinking and doing. Learning is facilitated primarily through social interaction with more competent adults or peers, who scaffold the learner’s experiences. The reader is invited to consider some areas of potential overlap and difference between Rogers’ and Vygotsky’s theories of education.