The main premise of Vygotsky's cultural-historical theory is that to promote learning, and thus development, educators must intervene in, and change, the students' socio-cultural context. Vygotsky's theory, however, has been misinterpreted and the opposite approach has been accepted: the teaching is adapted, according to the context. The result is widespread failure in schools. This article reclaims the true transformative meaning of Vygotskian theory and shows how successful schools in several countries implement various actions to transform their social and cultural environment. Data is presented from six case studies of successful schools conducted in five European countries. The analysis shows that these actions improve instrumental learning and, consequently, cognitive development. All these efforts focus on teaching methods that aim to increase the amount that students learn.