[xmca] Zopeds and more competent peers

From: Shirley Franklin (s.franklin@dsl.pipex.com)
Date: Mon Dec 11 2006 - 00:59:05 PST

You are so right, Deb.

It is a very positive argument for mixed ability teaching and learning.

My kids were taught is mixed ability classrooms (sadly now in the
decline in the UK) and benefited enormously by helping their weaker
mates . The act of simplification must involve more complex thinking.
As a special needs teacher I know how challenging simplification is!
I have always thought this had led these 'more competent peers' to
greater , deeper understandings. It is something we frequently
discuss in my teaching seminars.

Like Deb, I would love some other references to this.

On 10 Dec 2006, at 23:55, deborah downing-wilson wrote:

> A question that comes to me occasionally - but never when I'm near
> someone
> to ask-
> It seems to me that the "more capable" member of the ZPD, by nature
> of the
> interaction also performs at a level above what they are capable of
> outside
> the ZPD - and yet I've not found mention of this feature of the ZPD
> in my
> readings. Please advise!
> deb
> On 12/10/06, Mike Cole <lchcmike@gmail.com> wrote:
>> A while back Paul inquired into the issue of zone's of proximal
>> development
>> at the cultural
>> historical level of analysis. I pointed to Yrjo's work in Learning by
>> Expanding, but Paul has
>> in mind far wider swatches of time.
>> In Yrjo's case, in some sense, a generalization of the method of dual
>> stimulation implemented
>> as cultural practices by a self-conscious group is the mechanism for
>> "changing oneself by
>> changing one's history" (where self may refer to Huck Finn or the
>> Finnish
>> 7
>> brothers or a group
>> of workers in some Finnish industry). I like the work a lot, but I
>> agree
>> with Paul that it does not
>> answer to the question of Zopeds at the cultural historical level
>> adequately.
>> The problem, for me, is that I am unsure that it is appropriate to
>> seek
>> any
>> such mechanism of
>> cultural historical change. A zoped, in my ( ipso facto flawed,
>> mistaken,
>> and misguided understanding!)
>> is constituted in joint of activity of people with different
>> resources
>> (knowledge, experience, courage.......)
>> for accomplishing a culturally valued task. In Vygotsky's rendering,
>> provided in the context of
>> psychological testing and pedagogical practice, the persona
>> involved are a
>> more and less capable
>> person, sometimes referred to as more and less capable peers.
>> The difficulty at the cultural-historical level that bothers me is
>> that it
>> is even more difficult than in the
>> ontogenetic case to figure out who the more capable person/social
>> group
>> might be. For sure versions
>> of this idea that invoke some version of the "vanguard of the
>> proletariat"
>> and associate notions of
>> false consciousness I experienced during the 20th century, did not
>> impress
>> me as a useful
>> means for the development of humanity.
>> I should add that I also believe that uncritical evaluations of
>> who the
>> more
>> capable person is in the
>> ontogentic literature ought to be viewed sceptically, or at least
>> bracketed.
>> In some cases (luria
>> seeking to help Zasetsky recover his blown-away intellectual
>> functions so
>> that he can read and write
>> and live in his home town) the amazing zopeds Luria created seem
>> unproblematic ethically in terms
>> of almost anyone's view. In a lot of other cases I am less sure.
>> Yrjo's
>> critique of unproblematic
>> "vertical developmentalism" in his "breaking away" article
>> highlights the
>> dark side of educator's
>> good intentions even when they are, in some sense good, never mind
>> the
>> cases
>> in which psychopaths
>> are in charge of the classroom or the clinic.
>> But the question at the cultural-historical level remains in several
>> versions.
>> I am assuming that at the phylogenetic level no one wishes to
>> claim that
>> there is any question of
>> the kind of teleology involved in issues surrounding the notion of
>> zoped
>> within a CHAT perspective,
>> but this view is clearly in a tiny minority when viewed within the
>> contemporary ideological landscape.
>> mike
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> --
> Deborah Downing-Wilson
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