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RE: [xmca] Imitation and the Zoped: Time to summarize?
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- Subject: RE: [xmca] Imitation and the Zoped: Time to summarize?
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- Date: Tue, 4 Jan 2011 09:55:07 -0800
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- Thread-topic: [xmca] Imitation and the Zoped: Time to summarize?
I think your question, "When reflecting on notions of ZPD and the
activities encountered in schools are these distinctions sometimes
confused?" is well answered by Paolo Freire with the 'banking concept'
of education and, sadly, there is in these United States a huge
standardized-test driven proclivity towards teaching to recall and
regurgitate rather than to think critically, procedurally, and so forth.
What I have discovered, when introducing Freire to graduate students in
education, is that many are confused, some upset, and some even angry.
What is most interesting is that while most agree with Freire and bemoan
the current system, there are many who argue against him and insist that
there is value in what I would call a 'trivial pursuit' approach to
education. They tend to be fans of ED Hirsch and what every American
should know, as well. It is interesting to see the range of responses by
the end of the course (it is on planning and evaluating curriculum).
Virtually all students have developed or are developing a critical lens
(some come in with one), but I am noticing that at least one or two
become totally dismayed by the system. In two cases, I have had students
choose not to continue in the field of education. Once you look into the
schooling system and see the problems, you can't not see them.
So back to the zoped... this goes hand in hand, in my mind, with the
scaffolding (Bruner) and dialectical/dialogic approaches to
understanding the activity. If you consider the scaffolding metaphor
more literally, scaffold are meant to shore up something that is under
construction/ incomplete. It is removed when the job is done. There are
several things to consider:
- in scaffolding, the end is clear and pre-established, and when it is
reached, the job is done. It is more a product, if you will.
- in dialogue, there is no pre-established end; it is a process.
At its absolute simplest, scaffolding might be when we guide someone
through an activity by walking through the steps (okay, now cross out
the 10 and change it to a 9) in order to accomplish a goal. It is
product driven and based on efficiency. And, frankly, IMHO it does not
take into consideration who is at the table - only what is to be
In dialogue, the process takes center stage and learning where the
individual is at is at the crux in order that we do not overstep them,
but only act as if their shadow, giving the slightest assistance to move
their thinking forward, NOT to move more quickly to the end result.
For my money, this places both the learner and the teacher (or whichever
pairing you choose) in interwoven zopeds as both are focused on
processes that include a task as well as their interactions. This takes
me into dynamic assessment, actually, for we are continually assessing
as we work within the zoped...
My 2 cents... haven't been up on the listserv in awhile... :-)
From: email@example.com [mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org]
On Behalf Of Larry Purss
Sent: Tuesday, January 04, 2011 7:15 AM
To: email@example.com; eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity
Subject: Re: [xmca] Imitation and the Zoped: Time to summarize?
Hi Mike and Andy
The suggestion to grapple with the notion of zopeds or the ZPD is
to school discussions or narratives because it is becoming a common
folk psychological term [in school settings] for explaining reasons for
actions. Andy, I hope others elaborate on your question about CENTRAL
of development. At this moment I want to add two other questions that I
wonder about in trying to understand zopeds.
Daniel D. Hutto in an article in the journal "Philosophical
[2008, Vol. 11, p.175-192] titled "The Narrative Practice Hypothesis:
Clarifications and Implications" quotes Ryle  to develop his
that folk psychology [giving reasons for actions] is a practical skill
not a theory of mind.
"Learning how or improving in ability is not like learning "that" or
acquiring information. Truth can be imparted, procedures can only be
inculcated, and while inculcation is a gradual process, imparting is
relatively sudden. It makes sense to ask at what moment someone became
apprised of a truth but not to ask at what moment someone acquired
[cited in Hutto, p.185]
When reflecting on notions of ZPD and the activities encountered in
are these distinctions sometimes confused?
My second question has to do with two contrasting metaphors of zopeds -
zopeds as scaffolding and zopeds as dialogue. Hutto's article
2nd person and 3rd person accounts of folk psychology seems relevant to
discussions of scaffolding and dialogues.
The dominant cognitive models to explain our capacity for folk
explanations of reasons for actions are Theory of Mind [theory theory]
simulation theory [self-reflective referencing] Hutto suggests BOTH
theories explain how we make 3rd person SPECULATIONS about the contents
other minds. Hutto emphasizes that 3rd personal mindreading accounts do
account for how folk psychological competence [as practice] is regularly
deployed in 2nd person contexts. Hutto suggests that 3rd person
are socioculturally acquired abilities to produce and interpret folk
psychology narratives. [giving and receiving reasons for actions in 3rd
person speculative contexts] This competence is a "guessing" skill in
imagining what another person is thinking.
Hutto then contrasts this 3rd person socioculturally acquired competence
with 2nd person contexts. He states,
"It is important to note that situations calling for third-person
speculations are quite unlike 2nd personal contexts in which the other
supplies details of their reasons for acting DIRECTLY IN DIALOGUE
spinning out an extended narrative IN RESPONSE to prompts and
is because such on-line interaction is PRECLUDED in cases of
speculation that we must construct the relevant narratives for others by
enlisting ADDITIONAL RESOURCES - resources that allow us to "inform" our
productive FP-competence." (p.184)
The two questions stated above [practice/truth] and [2nd person-3rd
seem relevant to the scaffold-dialogue contrasts in metaphorical
explanations of zopeds. I intuitively sense that school settings are
to 3rd person relational contexts [scaffolding] whereas preschool play
settings emphasize "imaginal" dialogical 2nd person contexts. Is it
possible to maintain an emphasis on 2nd person contexts in the later or
"higher" contexts of central lines of development? As one possible
creating a zoped for 12 year old girls where they imaginatively write
personal "imaginative" stories as contexts to "find" "discover" or
their VOICE [as metaphor] in school settings.
On Mon, Jan 3, 2011 at 12:00 AM, Andy Blunden <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> I was just reading through some material from Vygotsky's "Problem of
> and the question I would like to ask educators who use the idea of
> Proximal Development is this. Vygotsky places at the centre of his
> of child development, the idea of a "Central Line of Development." For
> "... at each given age level, we always find a /central
> neoformation/ seemingly leading the whole process of development ...
> The processes of development that are more or less directly
> connected with the basic neoformation we shall call /central lines
> of development /at the given age and all other partial processes and
> changes occurring at the given age, we shall call /peripheral lines
> of development. /It is understood that processes that are central
> lines of development at one age become peripheral lines of
> development at the following age, ..." (p. 197)
> So a list of "what a child can do with assistance" includes for
> whole range of tasks which lie within their development stage of
> development, but play no part in their future life in the given social
> situation. Other psychological functions on the other hand may lie on
> central line of development, and as such are preparing the way for a
> qualitative leap in the level of psychological functioning, so (what
> phrase?) one step in instruction may lead to two steps in development.
> Does this idea form part of the idea of ZPD/zoped? Or is it taken for
> mike cole wrote:
>> It is my sense that perhaps we have reached a plateau in our
>> Imitation and the Zoped.
>> We have a number of examples of different "kinds" of imitation. But
>> surprisingly (why did I not see this coming?) we were less clear
>> than imitation, and perhaps owing to this lack of clarity we veered
>> consider (e.g., we used the method of dual stimulation on ourselves)
>> imagination and creativity as a way of better specifying the senses
>> we meant "imitation."
>> The question for me is, where to now? My intuition tells me that we
>> consolidate our accumulated material about imitation in relation to
>> imagination and creativity and then return to consider what a zoped
>> talking about pedagogy with a little magic here, Lois, since it is
>> my understand of the ZBR, but can translate among acronyms if they
>> proliferate too much!)
>> I am pretty clear about David's advice that take the
>> distinction seriously. It is going to become important when we think
>> imitation vis a vis the zoped.It is my sense that we are collectively
>> unclear on this score. Ana ( I think! So many interesting notes),
>> that even adults may (perhaps must) imitate unconsciously as a
>> social interaction. That accords with my experience in dealing in a
>> language that is not my own and a variety of unsystematic
>> Ana's note brings to mind. Ana also reminds of the many
>> functions of different kinds of imitation, making any hard and fast
>> difficult to create.
>> Now all we need is for the New Year's Fairy to jump up and hand us a
>> xmca mailing list
> *Andy Blunden*
> Joint Editor MCA: http://lchc.ucsd.edu/MCA/Journal/
> Home Page: http://home.mira.net/~andy/ <http://home.mira.net/%7Eandy/>
> Videos: http://vimeo.com/user3478333/videos
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