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[Xmca-l] Re: Nate's new webpage on Vygotsky

Scaffolding lacks the recognition of motive.


On 10 September 2014 10:40, rjsp2 <r.j.s.parsons@open.ac.uk> wrote:

> Hi everyone
> I have disliked the term scaffolding for some time, not so much because
> of the philosophy behind it as because of its connotations as a word.
> The people I teach using it don't go into it in such depth, but I think
> the connotations influence what they think they should be doing. At one
> level scaffolding works perfectly well as a concept: you put something
> in place in order to aid a particular activity, then you take it away
> when the activity is complete.
> But my impression is that that is not what people see. What they see is
> something with massive physical presence, heavy, immovable (the whole
> point of scaffolding on a building, of course, is that it is intended to
> be rigid), which looms over, enfolds the activity, and which is very
> difficult to dismantle. So they tend to think of it as something they
> build, but not something they dismantle. I find teaching the concept
> works much better if I start by saying that the key to the idea is the
> withdrawal of support. Then they get the message.
> (Scaffolding is one of a small collection I am building up of
> unhelpfully named concepts. It started with reflecting on Argyris's very
> useful but hopelessly named concept of single and double loop learning.
> Whatever good double loop learning does is not achieved by going round
> in a circle twice, as most of my students think before I enlighten them.)
> Rob
> On 10/09/2014 06:01, Henry G. Shonerd III wrote:
>> Hi David,
>> Thank you! I have been using the term "scaffolding" for years with
>> student teachers. I like the idea of it being temporary, with a "turn-over
>> and then upping the ante. All of this is Bruner, I guess, which is also why
>> I liked the term. . Scaffolding does have the sense of being physical, but
>> aren't all metaphors "embodied"? "Shaping" as metaphor, on the other hand,
>> isn't so much supporting learning as it is directing it. What I like about
>> the ZPD is that its goal is learner autonomy, so the temporary nature of
>> scaffolding seems appropriate. "Shaping" isn't about autonomy at all. Those
>> poor pigeons!
>> Henry
>> On Sep 9, 2014, at 10:29 PM, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com> wrote:
>>  Henry:
>>> 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"
>>> language itself:
>>> "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."
>>> David Kellogg
>>> Hankuk University of Foreign Studies
>>> On 10 September 2014 13:00, Henry G. Shonerd III <hshonerd@gmail.com>
>>> wrote:
>>>> What's wrong with the scaffolding metaphor?
>>>> Henry
>>>> On Sep 8, 2014, at 5:18 PM, mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu> 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
>>>>> interested.
>>>>> 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.
>>>>> mike
>>>>> On Mon, Sep 8, 2014 at 12:25 PM, Ed Wall <ewall@umich.edu> 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
>>>>>> list.
>>>>>> Ed
>>>>>> On Sep 8, 2014, at  1:16 PM, mike cole wrote:
>>>>>>  Check it out!
>>>>>>> mike
>>>>>>> http://webpages.charter.net/schmolze1/vygotsky/vygotsky.html
>>>>>>> --
>>>>>>> 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]
>>>>> --
>>>>> 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]
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