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

[Xmca-l] Re: The zone of proximal development



Greg:

Consider the following several ways of stating the same idea:

a) Is is the was of what shall be.
b) The child is father of the man.
c) Ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny.

I think that at bottom all of these propositions merely state the idea
which you appear to impute to Vygotsky: that the only means of breaching
the gap between the interpersonal and the social is through highly
asymmetrical forms of interaction that confront the beginning of
development with its end. That this is not what Vygotsky meant at all is
clear from "The Problem of the Environment", where he clearly says that the
confrontation of the beginning and the end of development is what makes
onotogeny different from phylogeny, and from the easily overlooked fact (I
just overlooked it) that Vygotsky does not say "confront" but rather
"guide". But they state it in very different ways, and as a result the idea
is not exactly the same.

The first one a) uses a kind of reification--the verb "is" is made into an
entity that we can reflect on, transform and talk about. Halliday calls
this grammatical metaphor--he means that a wording which is canonically
used to do one thing is used to do something quite different. In this case,
a process is made to do the job of an entity. In interpersonal metaphors, a
question can be used to do the job of a command ("May I have your
attention--please!!") and similar grammatical feints were used by Newton in
the Opticks ("For those Convex glasses supply the defect of Plumpness in
the Eye, and by increasing the Refraction make the Rays converge sooner')
and are used today, e.g. when we speak of "increased crack growth rate" in
scientific papers (Examples all from Halliday, 2006, the Language of
Science).

The second one b) is closer to your "I have a dream" speech. There is no
grammatical metaphor going on here, but there's a lot of lexical metaphor.
The reason why it's so hard to understand is that we are used to hearing
"man" as the general lexical metaphor that stands in for me and you, and
instead we first hear "the child". But of course that difficulty in
understanding is precisely what makes it satisfying and memorable when we
do understand. More on this delayed gratification later, because I think
ultimately it's that side that you (that is, Greg) will recognize from your
own work on how anodyne forms of counseling which merely reinforce what
children already know can actually retard development. As Greg points out,
this is figurative language--and figurative language absolutely does have
the meaning potential to form true concepts, just as imaginary roles have
the meaning potential to be transformed into abstract rules.

The third one is both grammatical and lexical metaphor. That is, the
process of "to grow" is grammatically reified as "growth" and then
relexicalized as "ontogeny", and something fairly similar is happening with
"phylogeny" on a different time scale. Were it not for the crucial,
qualitative, difference that Vygotsky notes, ontogeny and phylogeny would
be related the way that weather and climate are related--they are the same
process viewed from two different standpoints, one close and one far away.

Do these three formulations really contain one and the same idea? Yes and
no--you can see that you can get to the third idea through the first two.
But you can also see that it's laborious and the meaning changes quite a
bit along the way. It seems to me that the major danger--in counselling
education, but also in education quite generally--is that when we give
ideas like this rather "child friendly" interpretations, the child will
sometimes assume that we are simply teaching what the child already knows,
and remain at the level of commonsense language and commonsense thinking.
As P.G. Wodehouse puts it:

 "The boy is the father of the man."

She appeared not to have heard.

"The boy," I repeated, not wishing her to miss that one, "is the father
of the man."

"What are you talking about?"

"I'm talking about this Glossop."

"I thought you said something about somebody's father."

"I said the boy was the father of the man."

"What boy?"

"The boy Glossop."

"He hasn't got a father."

"I never said he had. I said he was the father of the boy--or, rather, of
the man."

"What man?"

I saw that the conversation had reached a point where, unless care was
taken, we should be muddled.

 (Right Ho, Jeeves)


David Kellogg





b) It's always dangerous to disagree before you've actually read anything.

On Thu, Jul 9, 2015 at 2:32 AM, Greg Thompson <greg.a.thompson@gmail.com>
wrote:

> David,
> I think I'm beginning to understand what all the Bernsteinian hullabaloo is
> about. I have three thoughts about this.
>
> First, I wonder where we might place one of the most important orations
> (and perhaps the most important orator) of the 20th century in terms of
> elaborated vs. restricted codes. I'm thinking here of MLK and his "I have a
> dream" speech. Linguistically speaking, he is reporting his dream as if it
> were an actual existent - not a hypothetical. He presents the
> counterfactuals as a real and present factitive - a dream. And yet, at the
> same time, the content of his dream is entirely counterfactual. His idea of
> Mississippi as "an oasis of freedom and justice" is nothing if not
> counterfactual (in 1963, but perhaps still today). And yet, this is not the
> linguistic mode (code?) of "let's imagine" or "I hypothesize" or "what if?"
> as in some hypothetical non-present existent. Linguistically speaking,
> Mississippi IS an oasis of freedom and justice in a here and now existence
> - even if that existence is only in a dream.
>
> So, what do we make of this speech, given the notion of elaborated and
> restricted codes? As a code, I assume it is a restricted code. And yet it
> is doing all the counterfactual work of an elaborated code. [and if anyone
> wants to revisit the factitive counterfactual (or is it counterfactual
> facticity?) genius of the talk, here is a link to the transcript plus the
> original audio:
> http://www.americanrhetoric.com/speeches/mlkihaveadream.htm]
>
> Second, you gave two options for remedying the problem of difference
> between the elaborated codes of the school and the restricted codes of the
> working class home - get parents to use elaborated codes in the home or get
> teachers to use restricted codes in the schools. I wonder about a third
> alternative to deal with this situation - acting lessons. I'm only half
> joking here - Lois Holzman has an institute that does very much the sort of
> thing that I have in mind here. But here I need to do some more
> back-tracking to some points where I (think I) disagree with Bernstein's
> (and Hasan's?) assumptions. Instead of assuming that these are abilities of
> the individuals in question, I would propose an identitarian approach to
> the restricted and elaborated codes problem. In this view, this difference
> has everything to do with who one sees oneself as (which has everything to
> do with who others see one as, as well as what kinds of inhabitable
> identities are "see-able" - recognition). Thus, the problem of elaborated
> vs. restricted codes is much more an issue of the kinds of talk that feel
> "natural" to the speaker (and Franz Fanon has dealt with the problem of
> speaking, bodies, and recognition very nicely in Black Skins, White Masks).
> Certain ways of using language (codes) will feel awkward to the speaker. I
> wonder if explicit teaching and practice can transform individuals such
> that they will be willing to feel comfortable (if only as an "actor" at
> first) in speaking codes that might feel awkward or even problematic for
> them. This follows the well-known logic of "fake it 'til you make it".
>
> I can specifically recall when I was presenting my master's thesis at a
> conference for the first time. When I got to the height of the performance
> of the high academic register of academic-ese (not easy!), I recall
> stumbling over the words "semiotic fecundity" - words which had been so
> easy to write but which now, as I performed them in front of an audience
> became quite a mouthful. And this is precisely the point - the challenge of
> "performing" in front of an audience - with all of the expectations that
> this brings - again, note the role of "recognition". There is a poetics to
> the matching of the "who we are" with the "how we talk" precisely because
> the latter is so often taken as a diagrammatic icon of the former. Take,
> for example, the many screeds that have been written about "bad" language -
> whether of the creeping variety of novel and youthful linguistic forms that
> pay no respect to tradition (like "like") or of the alternative varieties
> of "just bad language" such as African-American English - with its supposed
> illogics of double negation and copula deletions! So, the question then is:
> how do you get a child who has grown up feeling natural in one code to
> inhabit the identity that comes with speaking a different code? I think
> acting classes are one very important possibility.
>
> Finally, I came across an example that might help us think about the role
> of context with regard to restricted and elaborated codes. The example
> comes from Michael Silverstein's consideration of Don Brenneis' work among
> a Hindi speaking community in Fiji (they were brought there from India as
> migrant workers by British colonial powers). Brenneis documents two modes
> of talk that are used - one is for the formal pancayat context (the ritual
> governing body of the community), the other is used in the informal talanoa
> context (basically, "men's gossip"). Note that the type of talk used in the
> informal talanoa context (called jangli bat, or "jungle talk") is highly
> presupposing and involves "a low degree of explicit, orderly, and complete
> descriptive information, the kind, say, we claim we value in expository
> communication and inculcate in institutions of learning" (Silverstein
> 2013). Indeed, Brenneis notes that if you you only had transcripts of the
> conversation and were not a party to the talk and, more importantly, to the
> social life of those talking, you would have no idea what was happening in
> the conversations. Additionally, there is a discourse marker that is
> repeatedly used "bole", which means "says." Note that this is just a
> generic metapragmatic reportative and no indication is given with regard to
> WHO says (or even the specifics of WHAT exactly was said) just a narration
> of events that were "said" to have happened. This is about as restricted as
> a code can get.
>
> Yet, with regard to the context of this kind of talk, these "restrictions"
> of the code are precisely the point of this form of talk. They are highly
> functional and accomplish at least two things. First, they afford the
> speakers a certain amount of plausible deniability in the potentially
> profaning act (for object and for speaker...) of gossip. By poetically
> punctuating their speech with "says" without indicating who says (and
> certainly not the speaker who "says" this!), they remove themselves from
> the role of author or principal of the talk and all the responsibility that
> comes authoring gossip. Second, the use of "says" creates a sense in which
> the speaker is just reporting what is common knowledge in the community
> (and, of course, gossip always both is and isn't common knowledge).
>
> So, the point here is that the restricted code is entirely appropriate
> (even essential) in this context. To speak otherwise would be foolish.
>
> A bit too elaborate?
> -greg
>
>
>
> On Wed, Jul 8, 2015 at 2:36 AM, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.com>
> wrote:
>
> > Henry:
> >
> > 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
> > "constitute").
> >
> >
> > 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
> > conditional.
> >
> >
> > 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,
> > "collaborators")
> >
> >
> >
> > "President Obama" (assumes that we are all individuated,
> noninterchangeable
> > "coooperators")
> >
> >
> > Consider the following two talks that Obama gave after the Charleston
> > shootings, and you will see the difference:
> >
> >
> >
> > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x9IGyidtfGI
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xPMYqURt9V0
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > 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
> > orientation:
> >
> >
> > 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
> > Vygotsky's way.
> >
> >
> > 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
> > the classroom?
> >
> >
> > 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,
> > everyday language.
> >
> >
> > David Kellogg
> >
> >
> >
> >
> >
> > On Tue, Jul 7, 2015 at 10:45 AM, HENRY SHONERD <hshonerd@gmail.com>
> 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?
> > >
> > > Henry
> > >
> > > > On Jul 6, 2015, at 6:42 PM, David Kellogg <dkellogg60@gmail.c
> <mailto:
> > > dkellogg60@gmail.c>,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,
> > > but
> > > > 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
> > > a
> > > > cell for capitalism.
> > > >
> > > > Needless to say, Vygotsky doesn't agree with this at all: almost all
> of
> > > his
> > > > examples are, on the contrary, examples of highly asymmetrical
> > divisions
> > > of
> > > > labor (mother and child, teacher and child doing homework,
> experimenter
> > > and
> > > > subject, etc.). It is only through the revolutionary graspture and
> > > radical
> > > > 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
> > > or
> > > > less the distinction that Seth Chaiklin (2003) makes between the
> > > subjective
> > > > (child by child) zoped and the objective (age cohort) zoped, except
> > that
> > > it
> > > > 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!
> > > >
> > > >
> > >
> >
> https://www.academia.edu/13724420/Between_Lessons_The_Zone_of_Proximal_Development_in_Korean_Schools
> > > >
> > > > (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 <hshonerd@gmail.com>
> > > wrote:
> > > >
> > > >> Annalisa,
> > > >> Thanks for sharing! There may be a similar referendum in Puerto
> Rico.
> > > What
> > > >> a world!
> > > >> H
> > > >>
> > > >>> On Jul 5, 2015, at 3:52 PM, Annalisa Aguilar <annalisa@unm.edu>
> > 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
> > > >>>
> > > >>>
> > > >>
> > > >>
> > > >>
> > >
> > >
> >
>
>
>
> --
> Gregory A. Thompson, Ph.D.
> Assistant Professor
> Department of Anthropology
> 880 Spencer W. Kimball Tower
> Brigham Young University
> Provo, UT 84602
> http://byu.academia.edu/GregoryThompson
>