mis-directed message

From: Mike Cole (mcole@weber.ucsd.edu)
Date: Mon Jun 14 2004 - 10:06:55 PDT

I responded to Carol MacDonald online from a different account which
did not go through to xmca, but which generated that human development
message which did go through later.

Here is my original reply to Carol and her response.

Mike-A very quick response, as I must hasten home and design a budget for a
project. When I teach these two fellows, I am oriented towards their
contribution to formal teaching and learning.  I think that Wertsch did a
great job in helping us to construe what may go on in the ZPD, and his 3
concepts can be applied at higher levels than originally described. The
conservative view of Piaget is that he has little to offer teaching and
learning, but I teach "Equilibration Theory"-a late development in the
1980s, which shows Piaget's real contribution to undertanding the nature of
social relations in learning, but the role of cognitive conflict in creating
perturbations (but special procedures are also implicated).

I don't do the "compare and contrast" bit at all.

Thanks for the other remarks Piaget-I think his conception of embryogenesis and competence are also helpful.

Cheers for now Carol

-----Original Message----- >From: mcole@weber.ucsd.edu [mailto:mcole@weber.ucsd.edu] Subject: RE: bodies, matter, action, and meaning

Carol wrote: I have problems > simply attributing a social constructivist label to > Vygotsky. Is there > anybody else out there who teachs both areas, and > with whom I can converse?

Carol-- I teach and write about both Piaget and Vygotsky and of course there is a whole industry based on comparing the two scholars. So, one right answers are going to be hard to come by. There was a special issue of Human Development a while back on various views about this issue. I will check the ref when I get out of the mail program and try to post later.

But to at least respond to your question given my own views, I see two differences with respect to how Vygotsky and Piaget relate to constructivism more generally. 1. Culture/cultural history play a crucial role in how active agents acquire and use their psychological capacities for LSV but not Piaget. 2. The social environment is an active agent in LSV's theory (owing, in great measure, to point #1)which leads some, myself included, to think of the process of ontogenetic and microgenetic development as a process of co-construction.

As summarized in *The Development of Children* the evidence that not all of what Piaget attributes to the active construction by the child is in fact constructed, but, rather, is contributed to by phylogenetic constraints, or skeletal principles, which provide the foundations upon which culture builds (and to which culture has created in the process of hominization).

What practical consequences do you draw from your understanding of the two? mike

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