10-12 Socio-cultural and cultural-historical theory and research


Socio-cultural and cultural-historical theories are increasingly being employed in studying learning, development and cognition. These theories are mostly rooted in Russian psychology of early 20th century, with central thinkers such as Vygotsky and Leontev.

The basic assumption of these theories is that learning is a cognitive process that is strongly related to activity, which in turn is object-oriented, mediated (by conceptual and material artefacts), socially embedded in (the history of) a community, and dialogical.

Course objectives

This Masterclass is intended as a theoretical introduction to the main ideas and thinkers within socio-cultural and cultural- historical theories. In addition, this Masterclass, by means of data sessions, considers methodogical approaches (data gathering and analysis) that are associated and consistent with these theoretical ideas.


ICO students who have followed the introductory course.
By preference students have gathered ethnographic data, such as interviews, (video)observations of activity or discourse, documents.


Coordinators: Sanne Akkerman, IVLOS, Utrecht University, Bert van Oers, VU,

In addition, guest speakers will be asked to provide lectures/workshops regarding specific topics.


The course will consist of 5 full contact days and self-study.
The set up will be as follows:

  • Self study
    - Read introductory material
  • 3 successive contact days
    - Introduction of basic theoretical ideas (lectures & workshops by guest speakers)
  • Self study
    - a. write essay on one theoretical topic of interest;
    - b. collaboratively prepare data session
  • 2 successive contact days
    - day 1: presentations of essay + discussants
    - day 2: data sessions with experts


Students will be assessed by coordinators based on:

  • active participation in contact days,
  • quality of written and presented essay,
  • quality of their feedback in the role of discussant
  • quality of data session
  • self-evaluation asked from students


Will be determined in later stage.
- main literature: set of articles related to central concepts and thinkers
(- book edited by Van Oers et al, 2008)


March 2, 3, 4, 16, 17 2010 (New dates!!!)


Minimum: 10 participants
Maximum: 20 participants


The deadline for registration for this course is January 6, 2010.
Before you register, please read our regulations for registration.
To register, please go to our registration form.