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[Xmca-l] Re: Nate's new webpage on Vygotsky
Scaffolding is mechanical. Scaffolding is external. Scaffolding is
essentially the shaping of behavior. If the scaffold is made of
language, what is the building itself made of?
All of these criticisms are developed in our own field to be found in:
Kinginger, C. (2002). Defining the zone of proximal development in US
foreign language education. Applied Linguistics, 23 (2) pp. 240-261.
Mike, though, was critiquing the "scaffolding" metaphor almost as soon
as it came out:
Griffin, P. and Cole, M. (1984). Current activity for the future: The
Zo-ped. In Rogoff and Wertsch, (Eds). Children's Learning in the Zone
of Proximal Development, San Francisco: Jossey Bass, pp. 45-65.
I think, however, the most damning critique of scaffolding is to be
found in B. F. Skinner's description of how to teach pigeons to play
ping-pong. Here's how my old professor Keith Johnson describes it:
"How to teach a pigeon to play table tennis, in five easy lessons.
"Lesson 1. First stand your pigeon behind a ping-pon ball. Whenever it
approaches the ball (by chance at first), give it some food. Soon your
pigeon will have been conditioned to approach the ball.
"Lesson 2. Now only give the pigeon food when it actually touches the ball.
"Lesson 3. When the pigeon has learned to touch the ball, start to
reward it only when it pushes the ball forward.
"Lesson 4. Continue training int eh same way until the pigeon can
knock the ball over a net.
"Lesson 5. Your pigeon is now ready to confront an opponent (another
pigeon). You now only reward them when they push the ball past their
opponent. The championship can commence!"
Johnson, K. (1994). An Introduction to Foreign Language Learning and
Teaching. Harlow: Pearson Longman, p. 48.
If you need one, here's a much better metaphor--although it is still
mechanical and external. It's from Otto Neurath, who when he was
minister of museums in revolutionary Vienna tried--and failed--to
replace the signs with "Isotype", a set of non-linguistic icons.
Escaping over the English channel in an overloaded lifeboat, he
reflected on the fact that we have to use language to "figure out"
"We are like sailors who must rebuild their ship on the open sea,
never able to dismantle it in dry dock and to reconstruct it there out
of the best materials."
Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
On 10 September 2014 13:00, Henry G. Shonerd III <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> What's wrong with the scaffolding metaphor?
> On Sep 8, 2014, at 5:18 PM, mike cole <email@example.com> wrote:
>> The comparison of the different forms of dialogicality IS interesting, Ed,
>> at least to me. At present I fear that the leading Bakhtinians among us
>> have moved on to other forums, so not sure who will be reading or is
>> I regretted their acceptance of the scaffolding metaphor. I really believe
>> it is misleading in important ways, as easily as it comes to mind
>> (including my own). But its one of those topics that while it has been
>> around for a long time (early 1980's at least, not long after Wood, Bruner,
>> et al started using the term), gets no traction.
>> On Mon, Sep 8, 2014 at 12:25 PM, Ed Wall <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
>>> Thanks for this, Mike. The piece about Vygotsky and Bhaktin in regard to
>>> the ZPD is quite interesting. I'd be interested to hear comments from the
>>> On Sep 8, 2014, at 1:16 PM, mike cole wrote:
>>>> Check it out!
>>>> Development and Evolution are both ... "processes of construction and re-
>>>> construction in which heterogeneous resources are contingently but more
>>>> less reliably reassembled for each life cycle." [Oyama, Griffiths, and
>>>> Gray, 2001]
>> Development and Evolution are both ... "processes of construction and re-
>> construction in which heterogeneous resources are contingently but more or
>> less reliably reassembled for each life cycle." [Oyama, Griffiths, and
>> Gray, 2001]