Re: ZPD/Chaiklin and Vygotsky/Bakhtin

From: Phil Chappell (
Date: Sat Jan 17 2004 - 02:48:35 PST

On Jan 17, 2004, at 6:33 AM, N*** wrote:

> I have to admit I'd be at a lost to find something
> these day that isn't a ZPD.

If I get your meaning in that statement, I'd say that is one of the
main issues that we are facing as the ZPD gathers greater currency in
more and more learning environments. What Chaiklin says to me is that a
common problem is people using an a-theoretical and a-historical
approach to the ZPD in learning situations that gives the
phenomena/metaphor a more natural existence, i.e that the ZPD arises in
situ - in that specific learning environment, regardless of the
cultural and historical (or temporally divergent) planes (that's where
I was seeking a link with Bakhtin's theories).[I read an article
recently that I can't locate that discussed zones of distal
development]. I agree, ZPDed to death; therefore shouldn't scholars be
looking at misappropriations of the concept as well as contemporary
versions of it if they are basing their worldviews on or partly on
Vygotsky's cultural-historical approach? Then we can continue to
develop metaphors for the interventions that we make, such as Tharp and
Gallimore's "assisted performance".

A quick vignette:

I was in beautiful Shizuoka a month ago, with awesome vistas of Mount
Fuji (irrelevant background). One presentation was focused on how to
encourage extended dialogue amongst Japanese learners of English. The
framework was scaffolding and the ZPD. The definition of scaffolding
came from a regular dictionary, with building terms removed and
language and learning terms inserted. The definition of the ZPD was
something like, "Times when you help the learner speak, read or write
better in class".

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