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Re: [xmca] zpd zbr zedpd and zoped
I have no excuse for my use of "zebra crossing" except that "zebra" is the term the Brits use for a pedestrian crossing. It refers to the stripes on the road, and it captures, at least in my mind, the idea of the crisis.
But I intend to use Mike and Peg's "Zoped" from now on, not simply for the inside joke that he gives ("zo"), but for an inside joke of my own.
"Ped" stands for "pedogogy" in Mike's term. But for me it will always stand for "pedology", the martyred once-and-future discipline for which Vygotsky and Sakharov sacrificed their lives.
I think this is the real secret of the "Zoped". It was a brilliant tactical maneuver, which allowed Vygotsky to pursue his pedological ideas under extremely unfavorable, actually REACTIONARY "pedagogical" conditions (the Stakhnovite turn in education, which was forced by Stalin on Vygotsky and his collaborators in the early 1930s).
By appealing to the future in the present, he was able to continue using the same idea of building on the child's own logical creations under the guise that it was not complexive pedology but pre-conceptual pedagogy.
Seoul National University of Education.
--- On Thu, 1/6/11, Steve Gabosch <email@example.com> wrote:
From: Steve Gabosch <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Re: [xmca] zpd zbr zedpd and zoped
To: "eXtended Mind, Culture, Activity" <email@example.com>
Date: Thursday, January 6, 2011, 12:25 AM
So I have a few questions prompted from recent threads on zpd and Mike's video on zoped.
First, what does ZBR mean?
Wondering this got me to try to do some catching up of some xmca posts in recent weeks, figuring I'd missed something obvious. It may be more of a case of subtle humor. ZBR seems connected to a Nov 16 post by David Kel where he said: "PS: I think we should refer to the Zoped as a Zebra Raising, or maybe just a Zebra Crossing. But what we really need is a new name for the functional method of dual stimulation. The Fumedvastym? Fume Distillation?" Some of this had come up in some joking between David Kel and Mike a few days earlier about Mike's use of the term "zoped" instead of "zpd" ... but it gets lost for me beyond that.
So ZBR seems to mean ... ZeBra Raising or ZeBra cRossing ... and has become a joking substitute for zpd and zoped. But I seem to be missing something. It sort of spoils jokes when you have to explain them, but you know how e-mail text can be ...
On the use of the term 'zoped' (as opposed to 'zpd,') which David had asked Mike about, there is some subtle humor in that term, too. Mike explains his preference for the term zoped in the post copied below, where he adds a reason I hadn't heard - or more likely, recalled. "Zo" is a term used in Liberia for a village shaman, who among other things, is highly respected as a teacher. Thinking about this, and knowing Mike's penchant for playing, "ped" derives from Greek for "child," so the pronunciation of "ZPD" as "zo-ped" has some word play going on - "teacher + child" (a combination of meanings to which one might further ask, who is teaching who?). But this playful pronunciation of an acronym seems to have taken on some seriousness, in the form of the connection between 1) Vygotsky's proposition that learning leads development - which is at the heart of the concept of the zone of proximal development, and 2) Vygotsky's theoretical approach to
play, both of which are emphasized in Mind In Society. And this resonates not just theoretically, but also pedagogically. As Mike says, "when I organize obrazovanie [education -sg], I like to mix serious stuff with play ..." And so, among some Vygotskian scholars and teachers, these plays on words from other languages have entered English as a technical term, a two-syllable **word** - zoped - with its subtle reference to playfulness (if you know the playful etymology), in place of the flat, three-syllable **acronym** - zpd, or worse, ZPD. Besides, as Mike points out, 'zoped' IS easier to say ... :-)) As has been pointed out on xmca before, the concept deserves a word. Just when the concept and a word for it winds up in Merriam's, of course, remains to be seen. It is still both a concept and a word in the making.
What provoked some of that joking about zebras and ZBR, ZPD and zoped seems to have been Mike's video "Mike Cole On Zoped" at
which Andy posted Nov 10.
This is a talk with slides that Mike recently gave in a live feed to the Nov 2010 Vygotsky Memorial conference in Moscow, which I just listened to.
Mike suggests that Vygotsky's concept of zoped is different from the "scaffolding" concept, a term first initiated, to Mike's knowledge, by Robert Wood in 1966. Mike asks how is the scaffolding metaphor different from the usual 'N, N+1' approach to understanding teaching situations. Mike suggests that this and some of the other varieties of Western learning theory that limit the zpd concept to this "construction" perspective do not sufficiently take into account the **dynamics of change**.
Mike then distinguishes Vygotsky's concept of **learning leads development** from
1) Piaget's concept that **development must precede learning**, and
2) the views of many American learning theorists that take the position **development equals the amount of learning**.
Another question Mike addresses is can zpd's or zopeds appear outside the classroom, for example, in children's play - or does this process **only** apply to school, to instruction. Connected to this question of where can the zoped occur is the sometimes perplexing meaning of the Russian word 'obuchenie', which Vygotsky uses in his explanation of zoped. Mike explains that 'obuchenie' can mean two different but related concepts - 'instruction' or 'learning' - and that this term has been translated from R to E both ways - and in reverse, the English terms 'instruction' and 'learning' have both been translated from E to R as 'obuchenie' - creating some confusion about Vygotsky's original meaning over the years in both languages as Vygotsky has been translated back and forth.
Whatever meanings Vygotsky intended in his brief but influential writings on the zone of proximal development, Mike, of course, has strong suspicions that learning can indeed lead development in many kinds of situations outside of
formal instruction in school.
Which leads me to my next question - which I am taking the long route to get to.
One of Mike's concluding points is the challenge of how to generalize on Vygotsky's principle of dual stimulation, which Mike argues underlies Vygotsky's concept of the zone of proximal development. Mike points out that he, Yrjo, and other researchers have been focused on this aspect of zoped for some time.
Mike's slide on this reads:
"Generalizing Dual Stimulation.
* The ur characteristic of higher psychologically (culturally mediated) human action is that it operates indirectly, through the environment.
* DS method is the ur model of human action incorporates the environment as tools for action. But it must be generalized into group as well as individual circumstances."
Mike urges the non-Russians at the conference to ask their fellow Russian attendees what 'ur' means.
So - to our fellow Russian speakers - what does 'ur' mean in Mike's slide?
And, Mike, if you have a moment, could you spell out your statements in that slide a little - such as what the referents "it" refer to in the first and last sentences, what you mean by "operates indirectly, through the environment," etc.?
Finally, Mike, could you post up your whole ppt slide set? You mentioned in your talk there was a larger ppt set than could be presented in the 20 minute talk. Really good talk, by the way - thank you much for putting it on Vimeo.
On Nov 12, 2010, at 5:23 PM, mike cole wrote:
> Subject: zpd zbr zedpd and zoped
> I am answering David's question about "why zoped." I did not include it in
> my talk because I am uncertain of the audience's national
> backgrounds and was assuming "mixed but mostly Russian speakers". The talk
> was supposed to be about 20 minutes long and I was
> uncertain of the time. And I was also mindful of the fact that on Tuesday
> following its showing at the Vygotsky readings, I will be discussing the
> issues raised, and whatever people feel like talk about via skype, sooooooo.
> As many know, when i organize obrazovanie, I like to mix serious stuff with
> play. Also, I have a long term interest in the the enculturation
> practices and processes of peoples for whom literacy has not been a central
> part of enculturation until, perhaps, recent times. And, I enjoy
> participating in the forms of activity that emerge when zopeds are created
> as a part of our research and educational practices.
> With that context (add or subtract to taste) the notion of a zoped came from
> two sources. First of all, it IS easier to say! :-)
> Secondly, it involves forms of pedagogy -- arranging for the young to
> acquire valued skills, knowledge, belief, behaviors, etc --
> Third, when it works, it seems like "something happened," a qualitative
> field that sometimes can be like flow, sometimes can be
> triggered by timely juxtapositions, montage-like. And it seems to lead to a
> more inclusive, more integrated way of relating to the world at least
> in that setting. Whatever this "something" is, it has a magical quality to
> In Liberia when and where I pretended to work once upon a time the most
> respected, revered, and feared members of the community were
> shamen, a concept referred to in Liberia at the time (across language
> groups, so far as I could tell) as a Zo, what popular culture refers to
> as "witch doctors." They were THE teachers. But they worked through magic.
> That about sums up my idea of the zone of proximal development. It requires
> sage pedagogy and a touch of magic. When those are combined,
> they, of course, constitute a zo-ped.
> I personally recommend spending time in such third spaces. :-))
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