Nate, My question still stands because I think it is an important question, but then let me raise it in the context of Chaiklin's work. Here is what I see as the critical passage (at least as far as ZPD is concerned) from the chapter that you referenced. In sum, the main features of the analysis of zone of proximal development are: (a) whole child Something a lot of people agree on, for what it's worth. The whole parts to whole thing which came from Hegel and his vision of an organic whole that is developing or progressing towards a more adaptive existence (teleological or not). (b) internal structure (i.e., relationships between psychological functions), Here is where I start to have trouble with this view. Once you set up an internal structure that is basically the relationship between psychological functions it seems to me you are doing two things. 1) You are setting up an inescapable dualism trap in which there is a qualitative difference between what is inside the head (even if it is only functional) and what is going on out in the world. You can talk about unity all you want, but I think enough thinkers have shown that there is really know way out of this once you have set up the internal structure as a thing in and of itself, whether it is malleable or not (from reading Chaiklin's chapter it seems to me he wants to escape this by making this functional apparatus malleable to social circumstances). 2) You are setting up the child as an organism that acts on the world, rather than acting with in the world (one point of reference among many). I go back to what I originally wrote, that this to me represents self action with all its inherent difficulties. But more important, much of Vygotsky's other writing suggests to me at least that this was not where he wanted to go with his theory. (c) development as a qualitative change in the structural relationships, (d) brought about from the child's actions in the social situation of development (reflecting what the child perceives and is interested in), where (e) each age period has a leading activity/contradiction that organizes the child's actions (within which subjective interests are operating) and which contributes to the development of the new functions. This part to me is the most troublesome. It sets Vygotsky up as a stage theorist, which in a sense is falling in to another trap which is to make Vygotsky's theory actually more American mainstream than it already is. The idea that there are specific stages to development, and the development of the child can be traced to the specific ontogenetic development of the child is an idea first introduced by Hall that I at least believe pulls theories into something of a vortex so that they begin to function like mainstream American theories. This is really hard to explain but if you are interested I wrote an article in which I discuss this that recently appeared in EDUCATIONAL THEORY (I think it's online). The view you are proposing I believe will actually draw interpretations of Vygotsky to the type of theory that has dominated our discourse for the last century until it becomes indistinguishable from all the other work and everybody can say that they are being "eclectic" in their thinking (a real pet peeve). Just a couple of other things. Aren't all theories explanatory? Isn't that why they're theories? Don't pretty much all theories today see the social situation as awakening future development? Michael ________________________________ From: firstname.lastname@example.org [mailto:email@example.com] Sent: Sun 11/14/2004 5:47 PM To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Re: http://www.inthesetimes.com/site/main/cartoons/ Michael, The project is actually an exploration of the ZPD which takes a critical look at how the concept is used in America, in particular. I would say my frame of reference would be Seth Chaiklin's ( http://nateweb.info/vygotsky/seth.htm) work on the ZPD, and Vygotsky's own work on child development. It would see the "social situation of development" as essential in awakening future development. I would say Vygotsky took an explanatory rather than simply descriptive approach to child development. Nate, > >This is an interesting site, and definitely represents a discussion that needs to come to the forefront. I was especially interested in this because it relates to the back and forth I had with Grendler and Shields. > >Here's the question I have for you which I don't get from a (cursory) reading of your blog (I love blogs). What is your frame of reference for discussing development? The concept of development is critical to your argument, but then what exactly is it you are saying about this? Are you saying that development is basically self-action? That is that development emerges from the individual organism? (see my response to Gredler and Shields for a quickie description of self-action, interaction, and transaction). If so, then are you saying that Vygotsky's theory was basically coming from a self-action persepctive (the same rhetorical question I put to Gredler and Shields). Because honeslty I just don't believe this fits in with the rest of Vygotsky's work, or where he wanted to go with his theory. I don't think it works to say that he was trying to merge self-action with interaction and/or transaction - see Stephen Pepper for an extended discussion of why this merging of worldviews in a single theoretical perspective doesn't really work. > >Anyway, that's my question. > >Michael > >________________________________ > >From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org] >Sent: Sun 11/14/2004 10:39 AM >To: email@example.com >Subject: http://www.inthesetimes.com/site/main/cartoons/ > > > > >-- >Website: http://nateweb.info/ >Blog: http://levvygotsky.blogspot.com/ >Email: firstname.lastname@example.org > >"The zone of proximal development defines those functions that have not yet matured but are in the process of maturation, functions that will mature tomorrow but are currently in an embryonic state. These functions could be termed the buds or flowers of development rather than >the "fruits" of development. The actual developmental level characterizes mental development retrospectively, while the zone of proximal development characterizes mental development prospectively." >- L.S.V. > > > > > > -- Website: http://nateweb.info/ Blog: http://levvygotsky.blogspot.com/ Email: email@example.com "The zone of proximal development defines those functions that have not yet matured but are in the process of maturation, functions that will mature tomorrow but are currently in an embryonic state. These functions could be termed the buds or flowers of development rather than the "fruits" of development. The actual developmental level characterizes mental development retrospectively, while the zone of proximal development characterizes mental development prospectively." - L.S.V.