Re: Scaffolding

From: Mike Cole (
Date: Sun Jan 23 2005 - 10:46:04 PST

which this?

On Sun, 23 Jan 2005 13:17:06 -0500, Cunningham, Donald J.
<> wrote:
> Skinner used to call this "shaping"!
> Don Cunningham
> Indiana University
> -----Original Message-----
> From: willthereallsvpleasespeakup who-is-at
> [mailto:willthereallsvpleasespeakup who-is-at]
> Sent: Sunday, January 23, 2005 10:28 AM
> To:
> Subject: Re: Scaffolding
> 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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