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[Xmca-l] Re: Fun &Games


In our presentation over the summer in Kangwondo, we tried to consider
various forms of the "next zone of development" as diagnostic rather than
pedagogical devices. That is, we tried to take seriously the idea tha the
Zoped is not a "zone of proximal development" or a "zone of pedogogical
development" but rather a zone of pedalogical development, a way of
diagnosing what the child's next zone of development. This seems like an
important thing to do; without it, the tendency to reduce the Zoped to a
teaching/learning device rather than a developmental diagnostic (as
Vygotsky intended it) is hard to resist.

When we read Vygotsky's unfinished papers on "Child Development" (Volume
Four of the Russian Collected Works and also the 2001 "Lectures on
Pedology" published in Izhevsk) we get the impression that the schedule of
development that Vygotsky had in mind is both too delicate and not delicate
enough. It's too delicate because, for example, you have the crisis at
seventeen which occurs right in the middle of a stable age (puberty) after
which the child apparently simply goes on with the stable age--we can only
explain this by the circumstance, peculiar to the USSR of the time, that at
seventeen youth were required to decide whether they were going to leave
school and work or enter a preparatory school for higher education. It's
not delicate enough because, for example, the Age of Infancy overlaps with
the Crisis at One by at least two months (ten months to twelve months)
during which time some very important changes are taking place in the
child's semantics (according to Halliday, 2002, "The Language of Early

There's a way out. Vygotsky also says that the critical periods have a
three part structure (pre-peak, peak, and post-peak) and the stable periods
a two part structure (early and late).  In addition, the neoformation which
defines each age period emerges at the END of the age period and not the
beginning. So the next zone of development not only predicts the gross
changes of child development which we now simply predict using the calendar
(Infancy, Crisis at One, Early Childhood, Crisis at Three, Preschool,
etc.) but also the next phase within each period. It can do this by tracing
the child's progress along a main line of development (we called this a
"central line of development" when you, me and Andy were working on Volume
Four, but I notice in the pedalogical lectures that Vygotsky prefers the
term "main line of development"). This means the diagnostic next zone of
development (that diagnostic Zoped) actually predicts both the next age
stage (the "objective" ZPD, to use Chaiklin's terminology) and the next
step within each age period (what Chaiklin calls the "subjective" one).

Speech is the main line of development only in early childhood. But after
early childhood the main lines of development turn out to be various forms
of verbal thinking (negation at three, play in preschool, "clowning
around" at seven,  and conscious awareness and mastery at school age,
concept development in puberty). This really makes perfect sense:
development is, at least at the beginning of each period,  more about
differentiation than about growth. So if we apply this little insight to
the problem you name--the problem of having fun, play, and games--we obtain
a process of differentiation: games are a form of play (but not all play is
a game), play is a form of having fun (but not all fun is play).

In our Kangwando presentation we used a rather course method to
differentiate having fun, play, and games: rote, role, and rule. Rote play
is "having fun", or what Vygotsky calls "quasi-play", that is, sensorimotor
repetition, something which never goes away from play  but which transfers
its functions upward to role play. Role play is the creation of an
imaginary situation, but it is an imaginary situation in which the rules
are imaginary and not explicitly stated and objectively shared. Only rule
play--that is, formal games--represents the final form of preschool play:
rote play (having fun) and role play (imaginary play) are transitional
forms which do not die out but which transfer their functions to higher
forms as they arise.

David Kellogg

On Tue, Aug 18, 2015 at 12:47 PM, mike cole <mcole@ucsd.edu> wrote:

> I have been led to wonder -- what is the relationship between having fun
> and playing.  How do they differ? Does their relationship, if they are not
> reducible one to the other, change over the course of development? Odd how
> the category of fun is absent from developmental discourse.
> Mike
> --
> It is the dilemma of psychology to deal as a natural science with an
> object that creates history. Ernst Boesch