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Re: [xmca] someone or anyone


Thank you very much for taking the time to respond. In fact, I am quite curious about why quality of relationships has never been considered -particularly in cognitive developmental studies. Didn't Vygotsky observe that private speech increases in the presence of others but, particularly in the presence of familiar peers? Isn't social interaction at the heart of Vygotsky's theory of cognitive development? 

Intimate relationships may not be necessary for one's cognitive development but does it speed up the process with the most efficient scaffolding within zpd? I can't think of a more intimate relationship than a caretaker/mother-child relationship and a faster development than the child's. 

Is there a reason why quality of relationships has not been discussed in literature? 

I am working on adult language learners' private speech use when in interactions with native speakers during a competitive language task with peers. I would expect everyone to prefer native speakers. However, language proficiency doesn't seem to be a factor for neither native speakers nor nonnative speakers. They said they are more successful with someone familiar because they know what to expect and what not to expect from each other in a collaborative task. 

----- Original Message -----
From: "Carol Macdonald" <carolmacdon@gmail.com>
To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <xmca@weber.ucsd.edu>
Sent: Saturday, November 13, 2010 5:36:17 AM
Subject: Re: [xmca] someone or anyone

Carol replied:-

On 13 November 2010 11:40, Serpil S Sonmez <sonmez@uwm.edu> wrote:

> I am wondering if anyone can advise me about this issue. I’m sorry if my
> question sounds ignorant.
> I have very basic questions but I could not find their answers.
> What does “more knowledgeable other” mean? What does this person know?
> Where does his knowledgeable-ness come from? Does simply having a skill
> grant a person the "tools" to provide assistance to the other within his
> zpd? If not, when can someone become a knowledgeable other?

I think that it is really part of the definition and certainly there is no
explanation. It could vary from a child who cottoned onto the idea already
to tutors and teachers who have a long learning/developmental history.

> Is it possible to provide scaffolding to someone without having any prior
> knowledge about the person? What's the difference between scaffolding from
> someone who is familiar with you and from a stranger?

Would you like to do your PhD on that? It depends on the age and the
background of the child. When I teach small children it takes a few sessions
to get used to me and then they start make contributions.I have one child
who know regularly turns to me when he gets stuck, and it's not part of his
nantal culture. But it is definitely culturally mediated.  In the Venda
culture men don't talk to little children. So when one of my students was
trying an experiment which included grade 1 children, they had to be carried
either faint or screaming back to their classroom.

> Can we say that “knowledgeable other” means someone who is familiar with
> the novice therefore “knows” how to provide scaffolding within the zpd of
> him?

No it doesn't naturally follow.  We found that technology teachers could do
things (like drawing on a grid to make a bigger picture) but couldn't
explain to the children. Pedagocically sussed people are what you want and
they may not necessarily be teachers, as they need to see the deep structure
of the task.

> How does one know about someone’s zpd to provide appropriate scaffolding?

It's an ongoing matter of diagnosis, of building a model of what the child
understands and then working with it.

> Also, does "someone" in the quote "addressivity is the “quality of turning
> to someone” (Bakhtin, 1986, p. 99), mean someone in particular or just
> anyone in general?

Sorry I have no idea.

> I realized that I have been using these terms but did not have any answers
> to these questions. Wherever I look, the knowledgeable other always has some
> sort of intimate relationship and familiarity with the novice (i.e.
> mother-child interaction, peer-peer interaction, tutor-student), not random
> strangers.

Nobody writes about this stuff, so that's why you can't find the answers.
Hope this helps, but in the best tradition of XMCA somebody will come down
on me like a ton of bricks. :-)


> Thank you.
> Serpil
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