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[Xmca-l] Re: The zone of proximal development
I guess I think that "cooperation", where there is strong, well classified
division of labor, is external, extra-mental, because the decision making
function is not internalized by the child yet. But "collaboration",
ideally, represents a moment where each child has internalized the
"decision taker". But of course there's more to it than that--"cooperation"
seems to be associated with Bernstein's elaborated code, and
"collaboration" with the restricted one.
Basil Bernstein was a working class kid himself, and he had a strong sense
that he and other working class kids were at a strong LINGUISTIC
disadvantage in school. It was as if the working class kids were attending
school in a foreign language, while the middle class kids could just use
the language that they used at home. But the vocabulary and a lot of the
grammar really looked the same. So it wasn't until he met Michael Halliday
that it became possible to describe some of the big SEMANTIC differences,
which Bernstein described as differences in "coding orientation". If you
are part of a social group that is mostly composed of identical,
interchangeable units (that is laboring "collaborators" and not operating
"cooperators") then you have certain linguistic tendencies:
a) Encoding circumstances that are "here" and "now" (that is, talking about
things that we can all see).
b) Encoding participants that are either the speaker or hearer or very
similar to the speaker and hearer (that is, talking about "me and you" or
talking about others who are just like us).
c) Encoding material processes and mental processes rather than relational
or existential ones (that is, using lots of concrete actions rather than
abstract relations, lots more verbs like "make up" than verbs like
d) More use of "the", "this", "that", "there", "then", and "thus". Less
complex noun phrases.
e) More use of the direct and factual. Less use of the hypothetical and
Bernstein called this collaborative orientation a "restricted" code,
because it is a subset of the "elaborated code" that people use when they
talk about things that are not in the visual purview, people who are not
part of our world, abstract relations rather than concrete actions, and
hypothetical and conditional worlds as well as the real one.
Last week I pointed out the difference between:
"Brother Barack" (assumes that we are all equal, interchangeable,
"President Obama" (assumes that we are all individuated, noninterchangeable
Consider the following two talks that Obama gave after the Charleston
shootings, and you will see the difference:
In the first one, we hear the voice of "Brother Barack", while in the
second you can hear "President Obama". Brother Barack speaks a restricted
code--even his poetic language, e.g. "they believed in things unseen"
avoids conditionals and hypotheticals, and draws heavily on concrete and
graphic language. But President Obama uses a lot more modulation, a lot
more hypothetical orientation.
You won't be surprised to learn that Ruqaiya was very interested in
Vygotsky and Luria. She thought that Vygotsky was too focused on word
meanings (the difference between restricted and elaborated codes goes WELL
beyond "everyday" and "academic" words). She also thought that Luria's work
with Uzbek peasants and Uzbek school teachers showed different coding
orientations, and not different vocabularies.
I think there are really TWO ways of approaching the problem of coding
a) We can try to make the home language more like school language. That is,
use the language of "cooperation" and not collaboration at home. This was
b) We can also try to make school language much more like working class
home language: concrete, vivid, here and now, factual. That is, use the
language of "collaboration" and not simply cooperation at school. As Mike
argues, it is possible to form concepts using everyday language. If it were
not possible, then so-called primitives would never have concepts--but they
do. (And if it were not possible, we primitive Western Europeans would
never have bloody developed concepts either because for most of us the word
is only ready when the concept is.)
Of course, good parents do a lot of a) whenever they read to their children
(this is probably why television is so bad for kids--it's all restricted
code!) and good teachers do a lot of b) anyway (a good teaching example is
always a pretty immediate, concrete, factual one that is meaningful to
speaker and hearer and visualizable).
And of course cooperation and collaboration are really just two different
moments in the internalization of a function: first there is the division
of labor between the decision-maker and the decision-obeyer, and only later
is their fusion between the two. So what difference would b) really make in
A big difference. If we accept that b) is our goal, then we are going to
have to accept that the main danger in teaching is that children will take
the restricted, collaborative code we offer and stop there--that they will
never learn to use that restricted, collaborated code to academic concepts
and instead remain at the level of concrete, everyday thinking in concrete,
On Tue, Jul 7, 2015 at 10:45 AM, HENRY SHONERD <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> About what David has just written:
> Seeing scaffolding as a moment in a zone of proximal learning works for
> me, but why is it “a rather extrreme and externalized moment"?
> I like the return to freedom a lot. Can’t talk about that too much.
> But I couldn’t pull up the paper he linked us up to, not a single one of
> the 33,000 words! What’s wrong with me?
> > On Jul 6, 2015, at 6:42 PM, David Kellogg <email@example.com <mailto:
> firstname.lastname@example.org>,om> wrote:
> > Ah, but is it a zone of proximal development--or just a zone of proximal
> > learning? And for whom?
> > Henry asked--some time ago--about the difference between scaffolding and
> > the zoped, and I argued that scaffolding could be seen as one
> moment--but a
> > rather extreme and externalized moment--of a zone of proximal learning,
> > not a zone of proximal development.
> > The shape this problem takes in Korea is really a debate over the
> > respective merits of collaboration and cooperation. The idea is that
> > collaboration (which conspicuously contains the word "labor") does not
> > involve the division of labor and does not involve one party making
> > decisions and the other executing them, while cooperation does; ergo,
> > collaboration is a kind of cell for the ideal society and cooperation is
> > cell for capitalism.
> > Needless to say, Vygotsky doesn't agree with this at all: almost all of
> > examples are, on the contrary, examples of highly asymmetrical divisions
> > labor (mother and child, teacher and child doing homework, experimenter
> > subject, etc.). It is only through the revolutionary graspture and
> > restructuring and interior redecoration of the function of the decision
> > maker that we get free will. So cooperation and collaboration turn out to
> > be moments of the same process, but that process is, after all, a zone of
> > proximal learning and not necessarily a zone of proximal development.
> > I guess I find it useful to distinguish between an "everyday concept" of
> > the Zoped and a "scientific concept" of the Zoped. This corresponds more
> > less the distinction that Seth Chaiklin (2003) makes between the
> > (child by child) zoped and the objective (age cohort) zoped, except that
> > is functional and genetic in its description rather than structural.
> > We are presenting a longish paper on this on Saturday at a workshop in
> > Kangweondo. Here's the English version!
> > (Warning--it's 33,000 words long, and almost all the examples are from
> > Korean education!)
> > David Kellogg
> > On Mon, Jul 6, 2015 at 8:21 AM, HENRY SHONERD <email@example.com>
> >> Annalisa,
> >> Thanks for sharing! There may be a similar referendum in Puerto Rico.
> >> a world!
> >> H
> >>> On Jul 5, 2015, at 3:52 PM, Annalisa Aguilar <firstname.lastname@example.org> wrote:
> >>> Henry,
> >>> Clever mom!
> >>> This will likely be a very memorable event for the both of them.
> >>> Actually, I found this photograph quite moving, because, well... for
> >> many many reasons!
> >>> So thanks for letting me share it!
> >>> Kind regards,
> >>> Annalisa