[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Re: [xmca] A suitable term for "zpd aware"?

First of all, happy first day of the (solar) dragon year. May your solar and lunar dragons cavort and gambol throughout each and every terresrial revolution of this particular terrestrial circuit of our largest morning star.
Secondly--I am reminded of the comment you yourself made when Andy was looking for proofreaders for a work on concepts. You didn't like the idea of referring with a single term to activities as manifestly different as having a vague notion, coming up with a new idea, bulding a whole hierarchy of related terms, and conceiving a child (immaculately or otherwise).
I think this objection is a little unfair to Vygotsky; he has something quite precise in mind when he talks about concepts (which is why Martin has objected to the idea that concepts can be equated with word meanings, at least during the process of concept-o-genesis itself). But it seems to me that this objection applies pretty smartly to the passage you are quoting.
Reading over the description (from the sixties) I would have to say that terms like "vague", "imprecise", and "confusing" spring to mind rather than the terms you suggest ("zpd aware" or "mediationally attentive").

I know you like to quote and commentate, so I am quite sure you will not be offended if I apply your method to your man Hunt:

"[...]  If a teacher can discern what a child is trying to do in his
informational interaction with the environment,"
What child is this? Yea, whence this environment? Are we talking about an infant in a crib or a toddler on the playground or, heaven forfend, a toddler in a crib or an infant lost on a playground? Are we always talking about a material environment? 
What is "informational interaction"? Is talk informative in the same way as banging your head on a swing?
"and if that teacher can have on hand materials relevant to that intention, if he can impose a
relevant challenge with which the child can cope, supply a relevant model
for imitation, or pose a relevant question that the child can answer,..."
How does our teacher distinguish between bootstrapping up and dumbing down? How does our teacher distinguish between enabling learning and replacing it? Above all, how does our teacher distinguish between inert informational changes and changes that are really restructuring, between meaningless variations of procedure and those variations which any artist would recognize as endowed with "promisingness"?
"that teacher can call forth the kind of accommodative change that constitutes
psychological development or growth."
Ah--here is the answer! Accomodative change was opposed, by Piaget, to assimilative change: accomodation is an outward bound adaptation, in which schemata are altered to fit reality, while assimilation is inward bound. The problem is, of course, that Piaget considrs all play to be assimilative (in a book published in English at about exactly the time your man Hunt is writing, namely "Play, Imitation and Dreams"). Piaget would also have really liked the idea that psychological development is simply growth, or as Vygotsky scathingly describes it, "increase".
I think what Vygotsky would say here is that, first of all, we really have to distinguish between mere instruction and learning. Secondly, we have to distinguish between successful instructed learning and ontogenetic development. And third, we have to distinguish between a gifted teacher and a teacher endowed with a clear vision of development.
What Vygotsky said about Maria Montessori was that a gifted teacher needs to be given a theory, or else she cannot distinguish between giving the child written language and giving the child New Year's Cards like "Fulsome Greetings to Our Director and CEO, Maria Montessori!" to copy out.
And now...for something completely different. I am looking, rather desperately, for an evolutionary biologist called "H." or perhaps "G."  Jennings, who in 1912 or thereabouts first applied the idea of an "activity system" to psychology. Does anybody know any reference besides Chapter One of the History of the Development of the Higher Psychic Functions, Vol, 4, p. 20? Do you think "H." might stand for "Hugh" or "Hew" or "Huw"?
David Kellogg
Hankuk University of Foreign Studies

What would folk call this skill, under the umbrella of a single term?  How
about "mediational appreciation"?

xmca mailing list
xmca mailing list