Wow. thanks for the road trip! sensei is certainly a provocative concept.
how can we think about learning relationships where two equally travelled
individuals forge new paths together? can we have zopeds then?
On 12/20/06, Paul Dillon <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> Hi Eric,
> I've been reading this thread with some interest and I shared Deborah's
> concern about "scientific concepts" as well as some other terms you used to
> define the zoped.
> Drawing from a domain where there is absolutely no question of science, in
> fact it is the anti-science, Zen Buddhism, I think there is a very useful
> term that could help shed some light on how one might develop an adequate
> "concept" (Zen militates against these) of what is a zoped. That term is
> "sensei", which basically means: someone who is farther down the road than
> someone else, someone that another can follow down the road.
> As should be obvious the concept of "down the road" implies that there is
> a road and in zen it's almost like Machado's verse: "traveller, there is no
> road, only markers in the sea, traveller there is no road, one makes the
> road in travelling". But that is zen and returning to something of a
> Kantian "island in the sea of the unknown", I think that the idea of a path
> and people on a path, a path that is always developing into the unknown,
> might be useful.
> If we think of the idea of boundaries, very much an element of Engestrom's
> work, or of situation-limits, the concept Freire adopted from Karl Jaspers,
> we have implicit that notion. Mike mentioned how he and (I believe)
> Scribner discussed the zoped as a "conversation with a future". I think
> that's a great description, if not a definition in the strict sense. Now to
> have a conversation, one needs to be able to talk, and learning to talk is
> basically at the heart of Vygotsky's work. So one talks, the talk is
> related to culturally practical domains of activity. Someone farther down
> the road is someone who has gotten closer to the boundaries where the
> roads into the unknowns of that specific activity disappear. Someone can
> show to some people how to get to the point that they have gotten to. The
> person farther down the road basically creates the zoped by taking care to
> try to make the road visible, followable. Clearly there are a lot of people
> farther down the road
> toward the boundaries where the roads disappear who cannot do this but
> that's another question: the question of the teacher, something St.
> Augustine wrote about 1600 years ago and of whom bob dylan had a
> dream. Martin Heidegger said that the best teacher is the one who knows
> best how to learn.
> For a baby everything is basically unknown and a baby grows up among
> people who have grown up among people (extending into distant and forgotten
> pasts) who have worked out various ways of dealing with moving through
> different levels of the unknown. These are roads, there are lots of
> roads-lots of ways to move toward specific locations or toward the
> boundaries where the roads disappear, but I think the key to activity theory
> is that all of them are related to human practices dealing with specific
> needs that humans experience as incarnated and mortal beings (Marx's Theses
> on Feuerbach). I don't think a zoped can be defined abstractly except in an
> abstract way but I don't find it difficult to identify zopeds within
> specific domains of human practice. I think your example was great, the
> lecturer knew how to adjust to the people for whom he was farther down the
> road than they, in fact, he was on a road that they couldn't previously see
> as being relevant to their specific
> practical needs and he made it relevant to those needs as a part of
> creating the zoped.
> Sensei, nothing more nor less than someone farther down the road, what's
> the practice and what needs does it relate to? Looking for some absolute
> concept of zoped seems pointless, trying to define it so that one could
> identify it in any context on the basis of a Carnapian logical matrix,
> impossible. The key I think is to look at the practice, identify its road
> and see how far people are along that road and how they make that road
> relevant to someone who might not even know the road is there. Expanding
> is moving beyond the known roads into what was previously unknown.
> Paul Dillon
> ERIC.RAMBERG@spps.org wrote:
> Hello Deb:
> Thank you for your response to my question.
> When I use "scientific concept" I am using Vygotsky's term. Kozulin
> describes the idea well in his intro to "Thought and Language" Pg xxxiii,
> "Scientific concepts originate in the highly structured and specialized
> activity of classroom instruction and impose on a child a logically
> concept. . ." I believe that there can be a zoped whenever any
> culturally-historically logically constructed concept is the focus of a
> culturally based activity that has an attainable goal as the outcome. Play
> can be a culturally based activity with an attainable goal.
> downing-wilson" To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity"
> .com> Subject: Re: [xmca] perhaps. . .
> Sent by:
> xmca-bounces who-is-at web
> 12/20/2006 12:44
> Please respond
> to "eXtended
> Mind, Culture,
> Okay, now I'm really confused. How do we define "scientific concepts"?
> there be no zoped when artistic concepts, painting for example, are in
> On 12/20/06, ERIC.RAMBERG@spps.org wrote:
> > . . .this may be a better definition of a zoped:
> > a culturally based activity that provides an opportunity for individuals
> > to
> > apply scientific concepts to everyday experiences via the assistance of
> > somebody more experienced with the scientific concepts related to the
> > goals
> > of the culturally based activity.
> > Unfortunately I implied in the prior post there was assistance of
> > with experience. I would also like to emphasize that the question posed
> > by
> > the teacher in the room would be a set up to allow the students to ask
> > questions of the speaker, fulfilling the imitation requirement that
> > Vygotsky emphasizes in his chapter, "The development of scientific
> > concepts
> > in childhood" of his "Thought and Language" tome. Page 188 of the 1999
> > Kozulin translated edition, "In the child's development. . .imitation
> > instruction play a major role. . .what the child can do in cooperation
> > today he can do alone tomorrow." I believe the example I provided
> > yesterday would be what Vygotsky is referring to as cooperation.
> > eric
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> Deborah Downing-Wilson
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-- Deborah Downing-Wilson _______________________________________________ xmca mailing list firstname.lastname@example.org http://dss.ucsd.edu/mailman/listinfo/xmca
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