Re: Scaffolding

Date: Sun Jan 23 2005 - 07:28:13 PST


I have never read Child's Talk, but from - Actual Minds, Possible Worlds
- Bruner takes Vygotsky's statement

"Thus the notion of the zone of proximal development enables us to
propound a new formula, namely that the only "good teaching " is that
which is in advance of development"

in relation to Vygotsky reference to how " consciousness and control
only appear only in the late stage of the development of a function".

Bruner poses those two quotes as the problem of,

"So how could this “good learning” be achieved in advance of spontaneous
development since, as it were, the child’s unmasterly reaction to a task
would be bound initially to be unconscious and unreflective? How can the
competent adult “lend” consciousness to a child who does not “have” it
on his own? What is it that makes possible this implanting of vicarious
consciousness in the child by his adult tutor? It is as if there were a
kind of scaffolding erected for the learner by the tutor. But how?"

In referring to the tutor Dr. Ross he states,

Bruner, in referring to the tutor Dr. Ross,

"She made capital out of the zone that exists between what people can
recognize and comprehend when present before them and what they can
generate on their own - and that is the Zone of Proximal Development."

In looking more specifically at the tutor relationship he writes,

"This sequence provides a scaffold for “teaching” reference. At the
start, the infant may understand little. His response to the query may
then develop and take the form of a babble. And once that occurs, the
mother will thereafter insist on some response in that slot of the
scaffold. Once the child alters his responding babble to a word-length
vocalization, she will again raise the ante and not accept a babble, but
only the shorter version. Eventually, when the name of a referent is
mastered, she will shift to a game in which the given and the new are to
be separated. Whereas before, “What’s that?” was spoken with a rising
terminal stress, now it receives a falling terminal stress, as if to
indicate that she knows that the child knows the answer. To which he
typically responds with a new show of coyness. And shortly after, she
raises the ante again: “What’s the fishy doing?” with rising terminal
stress anew as she takes him into the ZPD again, this time to master
predication. She remains forever on the growing edge of the child’s

He then writes on LASS,

"In my own work, I concluded that any innate Language Acquisition
Device, LAD, that helps members of our species to penetrate language
could not possibly succeed but for the presence of a Language
Acquisition Support System, LASS, provided by the social world, that is
matched to LAD in some regular way. It is LASS that helps the child
navigate across the Zone of Proximal Development to flail and conscious
control of language use."

Hmm, is it me, or could there be some analogies to ZPD as functional
system in CZ?


Mike Cole wrote:

>I suppose one could interpret the idea of a Languages Acquistion Support System
>in terms of the scaffolding metaphor, Nate. I always saw it as a
>Bruner cleverism to
>make clear his counterpositiong to Chomsky's Language Acquisition
>Device, emphasizing the equal importance of the socio-cultural
>If we want to preserve social origins of human mental functions a la
>Vygotsky, what in the substance of Bruner's argument (Laid out more
>fully in his earlier
>book, *Child's Talk*) would you propose?

Email: willthereallsvpleasespeakup who-is-at

"The zone of proximal development defines those functions that have not yet matured but are in the process of maturation, functions that will mature tomorrow but are currently in an embryonic state. These functions could be termed the buds or flowers of development rather than the "fruits" of development. The actual developmental level characterizes mental development retrospectively, while the zone of proximal development characterizes mental development prospectively." - L.S.V.

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