Re: Scaffolding

From: Mike Cole (
Date: Sun Jan 23 2005 - 08:33:12 PST

Excellent "scaffolding" for me, Nate! :-)

Clearly the conceptions of scaffolding and Zoped are related. Bruner's
description at some points appears to map quite well onto Jim's
wertsch's description of his mother-child interaction work in, for
example, *Vygotsky and the Social Formation of Mind*. Peg Griffin and
I gave an extended critique of the scaffolding idea in the 1984 paper
called "Current activity for the future" in Rogoff and Wertsch volume.

Are you saying that zopeds are not properly thought of as functional
systems? Or that scaffolding maps better onto the notion of functional
systems, or.....??

Thanks for the instructive reading.

On Sun, 23 Jan 2005 09:28:13 -0600,
willthereallsvpleasespeakup who-is-at
<willthereallsvpleasespeakup who-is-at> wrote:
> Mike,
> 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
> competence."
> 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?
> Nate
> 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
> >environment.
> >
> >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?
> >mike
> >
> --
> Website:
> Blog:
> 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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