It's time for another psychology lesson. I think that yesterdays guest lecture went very well and hopefully everyone enjoyed the story. If you didn't get a chance to read it you'll want to take a look at it.
Zone of Proximal Development was developed by social constructivist Lev Vygotsy in the early 1900's. Lev explained that children will follow the example of adults and will gradually develop new abilities without help. However, if the child is helped at certain points then that child will grow much faster. The zone of proximal development defines functions that not matured yet, but are in the process of maturing.
This concept is also known as scaffolding. Scaffolding is like stairs that a child/person must climb but can only get up the steps by someone on the step above them helping them up. This is where adults and other people step in to help the child up.
If we look at our characters and how they change throughout our stories we will see how they work along to accomplish their goals, but then they get stuck. Our characters generally then receive support from another source that helps them accomplish the goal and helps them grow. Think about The Hunger Games story as an example. Katniss is pretty dependent in the beginning of the books and has learned to take care of her family, but without the support and training of those around her the story would have been over in the first book as she enters the arena. It doesn't stop there though. Throughout the series she is receiving support and help to get ther to the point she needs to be at in the end to accomplish.... I won't tell you what she accomplish I wouldn't want to spoil it, but you get the picture.
Our stories will be more realistic as we use the zone of proximal development with our characters. Our characters will not know everything on the first page; they need to learn and grow just like everyone else in this world.