Re: ZPD/Chaiklin and Vygotsky/Bakhtin

From: Phil Chappell (
Date: Thu Jan 15 2004 - 05:58:10 PST

On Jan 14, 2004, at 6:22 PM, Peter Smagorinsky wrote:
> For the article I recently attached on learning to teach the
> five-paragraph theme, we had originally written the attached
> theoretical section, which the reviewers recommended that we eliminate
> as irrelevant to the study. I've set it aside for potential use later,
> but it relates to Vygotsky's beliefs about imitation in relation to
> his discussion of the zpd and may contribute to a consideration of
> Phil's question. Peter

Peter and All,

I agree, it's a shame your theoretical section didn't go public, but I
guess it kind of has now.

You utilised Moll's view of the ZPD as social contexts for fuller
appropriation and conscious awareness of cultural tools. You concluded
that AT provides a lens to view learning without the mediation of
explicit instruction by an expert other, but rather through mediation
of other cultural tools. In my teaching, I have experimented with
various ways to build into language learning tasks scaffolding tools
that might be taken up as mediators of learning by learners during
meaningful communicative language activity. **Might be taken up** leads
on to motives...through Wertsch, you say that motives are not to be
understood in biological or psychological terms, but in terms of
sociohistorically situated practice. I have had difficulty with
understanding (an adult L2) learner's actions during an activity based
upon subject-oriented motives that contradict the actions during
learning activity.

That we can view motives as more fundamentally derived from
sociohistorical settings again (with creative licence) resonates with a
Bakhtinian sense of intertextuality and dialogicality. Nancy posted the
following yesterday, "texts exist prior to and after interactions,
and... they can function differentially to help determine what the
context includes and how participants can act/interact". I wonder how
far we can take the recall and anticipation of previously experienced
texts to be sociohistorical mediational tools? And from an enquirer's
point of view, how might we go about understanding the inner or private
speech in which those texts inhabit? I was taken by the nature of
Leigh's appropriation of the 5 paragraph theme in this context.

Is this a potential appropriation of the ZPD that steers too far from
its original roles?

Any thoughts appreciated.


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